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June 12, 2015 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

Last week, the Alabama Legislature passed bills to further empower local governments to address matters unique to each, to empower our military service personnel, and to protect our citizens from unwanted and unneeded products entering the marketplace.

  • Tuesday (27th Day of Regular Session): The House passed Senate-passed bills to allow local school systems more flexibility in setting their school calendar; to mend the National Guard Educational Assistance Act; to prohibit the possession purchase, sell or use of powdered alcohol; to prohibit nepotism in school hiring; and to amend the Mining Regulation Act. The Senate passed several House-passed local bills before becoming mired in dilatory tactics and adjourning.
  • Wednesday (28th Day of Regular Session): The House passed a Senate-passed bill to create within the Department of Finance a Division of Facilities, Leasing, Construction and Energy Management and to transfer certain duties of the state Building Commission to that Division. The House amended the measure, which now returns to Senate for concurrence or conference committee. They also passed Senate-passed bills requiring agencies to make certain reports the Executive Budget office and to the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee; to allow state agencies to increase fees based upon the Consumer Price Index; and to allow local governments to approve a one-time lump-sum payment to retirees if they choose. The Senate adopted the conference committee to provide for more distinctive license plates and for the distribution of the proceeds to the Veterans’ Assistance Fund. They also passed a one call notification requirement for excavation projects on public streets and roadways; to establish penalties for employers who protect employees from child support enforcement; and to clarify that military deployment shall not be the sole factor in child custody orders.
  • Thursday (29th and Final Day of Regular Session): The House passed bills to authorize local governments to finance for energy efficiency projects, otherwise known as the Property Insurance and Energy Reduction Act of Alabama; to restrict exemptions for residence and private dwellings by regulatory bodies; and to establish a new process for nominating trustees to the board of Alabama State University. The Senate passed bills to define the restrictions under which certain employees may not receive unemployment benefits; to provide for appropriations from the Children First Trust Fund; to provide for appropriations for the ordinary expenses of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government, also known as the General Fund Budget; to extend the privilege assessment for nursing home facilities; to authorize municipalities to adopt regulations of minor subdivisions without notice and a public hearing under certain conditions; to provide civil immunity to contractors responding to hazardous materials that are discharged into the environment; and to transfer certain programs of the Department of Economic and Community Affairs and the Department of Post-Secondary Education to the Department of Commerce.

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