5/6/2019 Group Watch: Tweet of the Week

@SalenaZito
May 3
This is incredibly gripping. Never forget.

Israel comes to a standstill with a two-minute siren wailing across the country in remembrance of the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust. https://abcn.ws/2ZIOQDQ 

April 29, 2019 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

An Alabama Lottery is one step closer to reality, Rebuild Alabama projects are already beginning, and plenty of other work got done by the Alabama Legislature last week. Here’s a recap.
  • Tuesday, Day 12 of Regular Session: The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee approved several House-passed bills and Senate-originated bills to authorize zoning in municipal police jurisdictions in counties where another municipality has zoning authority in police jurisdiction; to add the House and Senate budget chairs to the Contract Review Permanent Legislative Oversight Committee; and to prohibit municipal occupational taxes if not already in effect unless authorized by local law. The House passed several bills of local application only and general bills to allow the Administrator of the Alabama Credit Union Administration to appoint a designee to the Alabama Land Bank Authority Board; to require the Department of Revenue to enter into agreements with financial institutions to develop a financial institution data match program; and to transfer the distribution of inspection fees and penalties from the State Treasurer to the Department of Revenue. The Senate gave final approval to a House-passed bill to revise certain provisions of the Limited Liability Company Law and passed other Senate-originated bills relating to unspent appropriations transfers under the General Fund Budget Reform Act and to make maximum amount paid to an individual as unemployment benefits revised contingent on the state’s average unemployment rate.
  • Wednesday, a committee day: The the House Health Committee approved a bill to allow the administration of single dose auto injectable epinephrine on K-12 school campuses by students as prescribed. The House Judiciary Committee approved bills to revise the penalties for human trafficking and establish the agencies responsible for enforcement and to authorize the Attorney General to apply for court orders for intercept of wire, oral or electronic communications. The House Urban and Rural Development Committee approved a bill establishing the Broadband Using Electric Easement Accessibility Act. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved bills to allow expungement of convictions if the person has received a pardon; to authorize the expungement of criminal records for youthful offenders; and to establish a medical marijuana program for use in certain circumstances. The Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee approved a bill to authorize the administration of Lifeline qualifying public assistance programs.
  • Thursday, Day 13 of Regular Session: The House passed several bills of local application only, and general bills to create a Tier III retirement plan and to further provide for council-manager form of government for municipalities. The Senate passed a proposed amendment to the state constitution to establish a state lottery.

4/29/2019 Group Watch: Major Transportation Project

Governor Kay Ivey recently announced that the Alabama Department of Transportation is purchasing the right of way for the expansion of McFarland Boulevard in Tuscaloosa from State Route 69 to Rice Mine Road as part of the Rebuild Alabama First Year Plan 2020. Governor Ivey signed into law the Rebuild Alabama Act on March 12after it received overwhelming bipartisan support in the Alabama Legislature. The bill gradually increases Alabama’s fuel tax over the next three years. Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox praised the governor’s leadership in securing this critical investment in the First Year Plan.

4/29/2019 Group Watch: New Statues for State Capitol

There was a standing ovation in the House chamber after lawmakers’ passed a bill allowing statues of Rosa Parks and Helen Keller to be placed on the State Capitol grounds. Democratic Representative Laura Hall sponsored the bill that passed 102-0. The bill was described as a fitting tribute as the state celebrates the bicentennial of its existence. Public and private funds may be used to commission the monuments.

 

4/29/2019 Group Watch: Tweet of the Week

@GovernorKayIvey
April 22
Tuscaloosa is a city known for how it has rebuilt itself, & with necessary infrastructure projects, we’ll see this area thrive even more. Proud to bring the news that we’ll be expanding McFarland Blvd., as part of the Rebuild Alabama projects. Read more here.

April 22, 2019 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

Last week, which began with “tax day,” the Alabama Legislature was also doing tax work; both chambers passed tax-related bills. Other bills moving through include several affecting schools. Here’s a detailed look at last week.
  • Tuesday, Day 10 of Regular Session: The House Local Legislation Committee approved several bills of local application only. The House passed general bills to eliminate the prohibition against entering into installment payment agreements with certain taxpayers; to update the simplified sellers use tax to include provisions for amnesty and class action; and to require the pledge of allegiance be conducted at the beginning of each school day. The Senate Children Youth and Human Services Committee approved a House-passed bill to expand and clarify requirements for membership of child advocacy centers in the Alabama Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers. The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee approved bills to provide a sale and use tax exemption for American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities; to limit the provision of business licenses and sales taxes to property within the corporate limits; and to update the simplified sellers use tax to include provisions for amnesty and class action. The Senate Education Policy Committee approved bills to provide for the qualifications of school resource officers and to require the pledge of allegiance be conducted at the beginning of each school day. The Senate gave final passage to a number of House-passed sunset bills to continue the operation of varied boards, agencies and commissions for another three years. They also passed general bills to provide direct retirement benefits be paid to a special needs trust by the Retirement Systems of Alabama for a dependent child; to revise the content and course materials for sex education in public K-12 schools; and to authorize land acquisitions of right-of-way and waiver valuations under certain conditions.
  • Wednesday, a committee day: The House Judiciary Committee approved bills to provide civil immunity to persons providing transportation to healthcare providers without compensation; to authorize a probate court to issue a renewal of an involuntary commitment order for treatment after a hearing; and to revise the Alabama Business Corporation Law to reflect national standards set by the Model Business Corporation Act. The House Ways and Means Education Committee approved a bill creating the Tier III retirement plan within the Retirement System of Alabama. The House Ways and Means General Fun Committee approved a bill that further provides tax procedures in the Financial Institution Excise Tax Reform Act. The House Financial Services Committeeapproved a bill to require the Department of Revenue to enter into agreements with financial institutions to develop a data match program. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill to provide for the issuance of summons and complaints in lieu of custodial arrest by municipal corporations. The Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee approved a bill revising the Alabama Business Corporation Law to reflect national standards set by the Model Business Corporation Act.
  • Thursday, Day 11 of Regular Session: The House passed a number of bills of local application only and a general bill to authorize the use of student interns to assist in elections. The Senate passed several bills of local application only and general bills to provide for the qualifications school resource officers and to require the pledge of allegiance be conducted at the beginning of each school day in public K-12 schools.

4/22/2019 Group Watch: AL Pre-K Once Again Nation’s Best

Governor Kay Ivey announced that the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) ranks Alabama’s First Class Pre-K as the nation’s highest quality state pre-kindergarten program for the 13th consecutive year. In 2018, the Alabama program received its largest-ever single year funding increase, which expanded access to 32 percent of four-year-olds in the state, while continuing to meet all quality standards benchmarks. Alabama requires all First Class Pre-K lead teachers to have a bachelor’s degree at a minimum and provides salary parity with K-3 teachers.

4/22/2019 Group Watch: AGCO Ribbon Cutting

Last week, Governor Kay Ivey joined company officials and local leaders at AGCO’s facility that will house the new production line. AGCO is a farm equipment manufacturer with over a dozen major product lines. The plant expansion is located in unincorporated Bremen, Alabama, in rural Cullman County. AGCO Corp is investing $5.7 million in the project creating 50 jobs.

4/22/2019 Group Watch: Tweet of the Week

@judgestandridge (Rep. David Standridge)
April 22

Today is “In God We Trust” Day! On April 22, 1864, Congress ordered the redesign of the one-cent piece and the minting of a new two-cent coin bearing the motto.

April 15, 2019 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

The Alabama Legislature got a lot of “hum-drum” work done last week, passing non-controversial and local-application-only bills with little fanfare. Bigger issues include a possible pay raise for state employees and the passage of the Anti-Road Rage Act. Here’s a day-by-day recap.
  • Tuesday, Day 8 of Regular Session: The House passed the General Fund budget, the Children First appropriations and supplemental appropriation bills. They also passed an enabling bill to provide a cost of living adjustment for state workers beginning October 1, 2019. The Senate passed a number of non-controversial bills and bills of local application only. They also passed bills to further provide for retirement benefits for local employers participating in the Employee Retirement System (ERS) and to establish the Innovation Act, which provides tax credits for qualified research expenses.
  • Wednesday, a committee day: The House Ways and Means General Fund Committee approved a bill relating to the simplified sellers use tax to include provisions for amnesty and class actions. The House Financial Services Committee approved a bill relating to the Taxpayers Bill of Rights to eliminate the prohibition against entering into installment payment agreements with certain taxpayers. The House County and Municipal Government Committee approved a bill to further provide for procedures and timing for municipalities seeking a council-manager form of government. The Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee approved a bill providing a one-time, lump-sum payout to Employees’ Retirement System retirees and beneficiaries. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved bills to prohibit racial profiling by law enforcement officers; to provide that a conviction of a parent for rape or incest is a ground for termination of parental rights if the rape or incest resulted in the conception of the child; and to reallocate the number of circuit judges and district judges every 20 years based on population.
  • Thursday, Day 9 of Regular Session: The House passed the Anti-Road Rage Act, which prohibits motorists from driving more than a mile and a half in the left lane on interstates. The House also passed a bill to require public employees to be given 10 days in which to request a personnel hearing and requiring that suspension be for a period not to exceed 30 business days, and a bill to authorize the taking of whitetail deer or feral swine by means of bait, when a baiting privilege license is purchased under certain conditions. The Senate gave final approval to 14 House-passed sunset bills that authorize continued operation of those approved. They also confirmed several persons nominated to serve on state boards and commissions.
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