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March 28, 2016 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

The General Fund Budget has been passed by the legislature but may not get very far (see article below) while plenty of other bills keep moving forward:

On Tuesday, March 22 (17th day of the session):

  • The House passed bills of local application only, to redistribute lodging tax proceeds in Etowah County; to permit Sunday sales of alcoholic beverages in Jackson County; and to allocate the proceeds from solid waste fees to North Sumter Day Center in Sumter County.
  • The House also passed general bills to prohibit the operation of dump trucks with the truck bed raised; to permit the State Fire Marshal to issue permits for the installation of fire protection sprinkler systems; and to require a notation by the prescribing physician when generic drugs are not allowed.
  • The Senate passed a bill of local application only to allow the probate judge to seek reelection up to the age of 75 years old in Pickens County.
  • The Senate also passed general bills to establish a Loan Repayment Program to pay for the education of Advanced Practice Nurses; to establish the Alabama Dental Service Program for the Board of Dental Scholarship Awards to encourage practitioners to serve medically underserved areas of the state; and to provide for an expedited procedure for tax sale properties acquired from the State Land Commissioner.
  • Learn more about what the Senate got done on this day on the“Senate Minute” video, here.)

On Wednesday, March 23 (18th day and a committee day):

  • The House Judiciary Committee approved bills to establish a procedure to apply for visitation by isolated family members and sentencing guidelines for juveniles convicted of capital and certain other offenses.
  • The House Commerce and Small Business Committee approved a bill relating to the number of employees included in workers’ compensation plans to exclude those who own a certain percentage of the company.
  • The House Ways and Means Education Committee approved a Senate-passed bill to prohibit local school boards from using public funds to advocate for or against ballot measures.
  • The House County and Municipal Government Committee approved a bill that provides a timeline for considering salary and expense increases by municipal governing bodies.
  • The House State Government Committee approved a Senate-passed bill to align the filing of state tax returns with the time requirement for filing corresponding federal returns.
  • The House Boards, Agencies and Commissions approved a Senate-passed bill relating to Social Work lincensure.
  • The Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee approved a bill to exempt from business license tax based on gross receipts.
  • The House passed general bills to authorize warrantless arrest of persons trespassing on property of an educational institution; to provide immunity for certain volunteer caregivers from civil actions; to repeal statutes relating to the municipal commission form of government; and to reauthorize the Children’s Advocacy Centers participation in the Local Government Insurance Program.

Other Points of Interest From Last Week

  • Speaking to a group at Monroe County Hospital, Governor Bentley brought up a state lottery, saying that it may be the only “realistic” way to get more funds for Medicaid.
  • The House Health Committee considered a “Personhood Amendment” to the constitution that would define life and personhood as beginning at the “moment of fertilization or the functional equivalent thereof.”

The House and Senate are off this week for Spring Break and reconvene on Tuesday, April 5, at 1 pm and 2 pm respectively. Find a link to live audio of both chambers here.

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