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March 21, 2016 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

Governor Bentley believes over-crowding in Alabama’s correctional facilities will result in continued riots unless his plans to build more prisons are enacted (see article below), the General Fund budget is still facing issues and dominating discussions, but other business is still getting done:

On Tuesday, March 15 (15th day of the session):

  • The House passed bills of local application only relating to Sunday alcoholic beverage sales in Coosa County and a gasoline tax for Tuscaloosa County to fund County Road Improvements. They also passed a Senate-passed General Fund budget with changes; an appropriation for the Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Children First Trust Fund appropriations.
  • The Senate passed bills to provide for annual education training in K-12 aimed at preventing teen suicide. (Learn who endorsed this bill in the “Senate Minute” video, here.)
  • The Senate also passed bills to further define the levels of social work practice in Alabama; to limit police jurisdiction from extending in additional territory without a vote of the city council; and to align the reporting dates for individual and corporate returns with federal timelines, aka “joint reporting.”

On Wednesday, March 16 (a committee day):

  • The House Committee on Health approved bills to authorize fire and rescue personnel to administer opioids subject to the orders of local health authorities and to exempt veterinarians from reporting the dispensing of class II to class V controlled substances.
  • The House Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure Committee approved a bill to provide for additional gasoline tax with certain conditions.
  • The House Ways and Means Education Committee approved bills to provide tax credits for certain capital contributions to small businesses in the state and to establish the Alabama Dental Service Program for the Board of Dentistry.
  • The House Committee on County and Municipal Government approved a bill making it illegal to discharge sewage on the ground.
  • The House Judiciary Committee approved a Senate-passed bill allowing local boards of education to use automated enforcement of school bus violations.

On Thursday, March 17 (16th day of the session):

  • The Senate passed bills to provide for virtual education to resident students and past residents who are military dependents and to further define the crime of Medicaid fraud and revise the statutes of limitations for certain fraudulent activity. (Hear a bit about this and other Senate activity in “Senate Minute” video, here.)
  • The House passed bills affecting how business entities, partnerships and limited liability companies merge and dissolve; to further provide for the valuation and distribution of retirement benefits for purposes of divorce; to abolish the practice of common law marriage after January 1, 2017; and to require a parenting plan in all cases of divorce where there are minor children.

The House and Senate reconvene on Tuesday, March 22, at 1 pm and 2 pm respectively. Find a link to live audio of both chambers here.

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