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March 7, 2016 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

We’re close to halfway through the regular session, and this past week saw education issues take center stage (see articles below). Here are some of the other bills currently up and their progress:

On Tuesday, March 1 (11th day of the session):

  • The Senate approved bills of local application only affecting bingo games in Calhoun County, the Autauga County coroner’s office and the Autauga County sheriff’s office.
  • The House passed bills to permit local boards of equalization to appeal to circuit courts cases relating to valuation of commercial property; to reduce the number of copies required by the Secretary of State to certain entities; and to further provide for the sale of alcoholic beverages by breweries and brewpubs. They gave final approval to Senate passed bills to continue the State board of public Accountancy; the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Board; the State Board of Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Contractors; the Pilotage Commission; the Plumbers and Gas Fitters Examiners Board; the Real Estate Appraisers Board; the Alcohol Beverage Control Board; the State Board of Auctioneers and the Private Investigation Board.
  • The House also passed bills of local application only affecting the Dale County Sheriff’s office, the Pike County board of registrars and the Blount County sheriff’s office.

On Wednesday, March 2 (a committee day):

  • The House Ways and Means Education Committee approved an education budget of over six billion dollars, which included appropriations to Talladega College, Lyman Ward Military Academy, Tuskegee University, and a pay increase for public education employees.
  • The House State Government Committee approved a bill to require concurrent filing dates for state individual and corporate income tax returns with the date for federal returns.
  • The House Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure Committee approved a bill requiring competitive bidding Department of Transportation road projects in excess of $250,000.
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee approved bills to exempt title insurance agents who are attorneys from licensure by the state insurance department and to provide for the recording and transmission of marriage contracts.
  • The Senate Education and Youth Affairs Committee approved the Child Care Provider Inclusion Act, which prohibits the state from discriminating against childcare service providers under certain conditions.

On Thursday, March 3 (12th day of the session):

  • The House passed bills to provide a supplemental appropriation for the Education Trust Fund Advancement and Technology Fund in the Department of Education; the Alabama Ahead Act relating to broadband infrastructure; and to authorize law enforcement officers to issue traffic citations at the scene of a crash under certain conditions.
  • The Senate passed bills to provide for appeals to circuit court matters related to the valuation of commercial property; to create the Transportation Safety Fund; to authorize automated civil enforcement of school bus violations; and to unclassify the appointment of deputy directors and chief engineer in the Department of Transportation.

The House and Senate reconvene on Tuesday, March 8 at 1 pm and 2 pm respectively.  Find a link to live audio of both chambers here.

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