2/26/2018 Group Watch: Tweet of the Week

Feb 25
“Sad news. Our prayers to the Treadway family.”

2/26/2018 Group Watch: Budget Has Prison Funding Boost

The Senate approved a state general fund budget that gives additional money to the state prison system to address issues as part of a federal court order to overhaul mental health care for inmates. The proposed spending plan would provide an additional $51 million to the Department of Corrections for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2018.

2/26/2018 Group Watch: General Fund Budget Passed

Last Tuesday, the Senate passed the General Fund Budget by an overwhelming majority vote of 26-2. It’s larger than last year’s budget. At just a little above $2 billion, it’s actually the largest in 10 years, with several state agencies receiving funding increases. The pay raise for state workers that has been a part of budget discussions is a separate bill and stalled last week, but many believe it still has a good chance at passing later in the session.

2/26/2018 Group Watch

Southeast Alabama Medical Center in Dothan is the second hospital in the country and the first in Alabama, to have a new hi-tech bed for premature babies. These beds are designed for premature babies and provide temperatures as close to the mother’s womb as possible, allowing babies as small as two pounds to grow and develop without being sent to other hospitals. The beds are designed to provide enough room for physicians to work on the babies.

2/26/2018 Group Watch: Senator Shelby Speaks on School Security

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, who has served in Congress for 40 years, said recently that he thinks the nation needs to do more related to who can get guns. He called for a closer look at those with mental health issues and possibly tightening up background checks. He also mentioned the importance of a level-headed approach to working with schools to have persons trained for security at schools. Shelby said that while most people are good and decent, we have a few who are bad.

2/26/2018 Group Watch: Ivey Speaks on School Shooting

Governor Kay Ivey spoke out on potential protections for schools in wake of the mass shooting in a Florida school. She cautioned against “knee-jerk reactions,” saying the state should listen to law enforcement. Ivey said she would support metal detectors in schools, but is open to more ideas. While some are advocating arming teachers on a voluntary basis, Governor Ivey says she is not sure teachers who have to address so many things during the school day should be given guns.

2/26/2018 Group Watch: AL Higher Ed Day Calls for More Funding

Last Thursday was Higher Education Advocacy Day at the Alabama Statehouse. The day represents an opportunity for students to directly share the importance of increased funding for higher education to Governor Ivey, state lawmakers and other constitutional officers. Legislators were invited to sit at tables with students to hear directly from them the needs and opportunities of higher education. Higher Education Day is organized by the Higher Education Partnership, which say says higher education is an important economic driver in communities, creating jobs, strengthening quality of life and making a $20 billion annual economic impact.

2/26/2018 Group Watch: Daycare Bill Moves to Senate

A bill to expand the daycare regulations and oversight applying to daycare centers and programs affiliated with churches, was favorably reported out of committee and will now be voted on in the Senate.

February 19, 2018 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

The Alabama Legislature got back to work last Tuesday with continued focus on local bills in addition to passing bills to fund public education in Alabama.
  • On Tuesday (11th day of session): The Housepassed a number of bills of local application only and bills to fund public education for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2018; to provide 2.5 percent cost-of-living increase for public education employees in K-12; and to extend the private hospital assessment and Medicaid funding program for the 2019 fiscal year. The Senate passed several bills of local application only and general bills to grant all professional educators’ associations the same level of access to employees of public schools; to clarify the law in regards to issuing pistol permits, providing that sheriffs may not impose time constraints on applicants in regards to taking possession of the license; and to revise the licensing process for EMS personnel to authorize criminal background checks.
  • On Wednesday (a committee day): The House Judiciary Committee approved bills to provide for payment of fees for DUI from the pretrial diversion programs to the Alabama Head and Spinal Cord Trust Fund; to provide the enumeration of certain capital offenses, including murder on a school campus and murder in a day care center; and a bill to expand the types of cases private judges can hear.  The House Ways and Means Committee approved a bill aimed at correctional officer retention. The House Military and Veteran Affairs Committee approved a bill requiring professional licensing boards to issue licenses and certificates to military spouses from other states. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved a bill to authorize nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and physician assistants to sign forms that may be signed by a physician. The Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee approved the General Fund Budget; the Children First Trust Fund appropriation; and a cost-of-living increase for state workers who have not had a raise in 10 years.
  • On Thursday (12th day of session): After a lengthy debate over a special order calendar, the House passed several bills of local application only, including final passage of several Senate-passed local bills. The chamber also passed few bills late in the evening, including a bill hailed as “Stand Your Ground Law for churches.” The Senate passed several bills of local application only and a bill to further provide for notification of low-risk sex offenders and House-passed bills to provide tax credits for hiring unemployed veterans and for preference given to veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the awarding of public contracts by state agencies and institutions.

2/19/2018 Group Watch: Tweet of the Week

Feb 17
We have two ears and one mouth. Let’s listen twice as much as we talk. @Joe_McGee#MarriageConf18

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