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April 20, 2015 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

This past week, the Alabama Legislature passed bills to provide education funding, to promote the employment of veterans and to empower municipal planning commissions.

  • Tuesday (13th Day of Regular Session): The House passed bills to allow physicians providing pain management services to do so at multiple locations without additional registration fees; to hold liable employers who protect the wages of employees from child support withholding orders; to permit municipal planning commissions to adopt regulations authorizing approval of minor subdivisions without notice and a public hearing under certain conditions; and to provide for single point online transactions (ONE SPOT) filing of county and municipal lodgings taxes, which has already been passed by the Senate. The Senate passed a $6 billion education budget for FY16 with minimum debate. The bill will provide additional money to expand the state’s voluntary Pre-K program, purchase new textbooks, hire additional teachers for middle schools, increase funding for school buses and provide additional money to local systems for other current expenses. The Senate also passed bills to allow for preference in employment and promotion of veterans in state government; to establish criminal penalties for persons who fraudulently hold themselves out as having received military decorations and medals; and to authorize parents or legal guardians to authorize certain medical treatment where a minor refused.
  • Wednesday (Committee Day): The SenateFinance and Taxation Education Committee onEducation approved appropriations for Lyman Ward Academy, Tuskegee University and Talladega College. The Senate Committee on Education and Youth Affairs voted 5-3 in favor of a bill that would repeal Common Core standards in Alabama public schools.
  • Thursday (14th Day of Regular Session):  The House debated for several hours a special order calendar that contained a controversial lead-off bill before adjourning. The Senate passed bills to establish a streamlined process of licensing physicians in multiple states; to designate the Lane Cake as the official state dessert; and a number of bills of local application only. Near the end of the day, they passed a bill restructuring the board makeup of the Birmingham Water Board, after agreeing to accept an amendment by Birmingham Senator Rodger Smitherman. The measure was brought up, out of order by sponsorSenator Jabo Waggoner of Vestavia, and divided the body over the potential implications statewide.

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