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5/24/2012 Group Watch: 2012 Regular Session Recap

One of the primary responsibilities of the Legislature is to pass budgets for the operation of state government and public education. They accomplished that feat on the last day of the regular session with the passage of an education budget. After much debate, the final bill reduces spending for public schools and universities but not at the expense of teacher layoffs or larger class sizes. It also sustains funding for successful programs such as the Alabama Reading Initiative, distant learning and pre-K. Likewise, passage of the General Fund budget with plans to sustain vital services in the Departments of Mental Health and Human Resources was essential. They also had to fund the prison system and the state Medicaid Agency. In order to accomplish these goals, the Legislature passed a bill increasing court fees as well as a constitutional amendment to allow the use of nearly $146 million from a state savings account. The voters will decide this fall on the latter. The governor has stated he will sign both budget bills.

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