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March 20, 2017 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

The Alabama Legislature returned to work on Tuesday, March 14th for the 11th day of the session, and on that day, the House passed a General Fund Budget. Here are a few other highlights:

  • On Tuesday (11th day of session): The House passed a couple of bills of local application only and worked late into the night before passing a $1.8 billion General Fund budget for FY2018. They also passed supplemental appropriations for the Board of Prosthetic and Orthotists and the Alabama Forestry Commission and general appropriations for the Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Children First Fund. The Senate passed a couple of bills of local application only and general bills to require drivers’ license offices be operational in each county at least one day a week and to provide for medical furlough for certain people not withstanding Medicaid eligibility.
  • On Wednesday (a committee day and 12th day of session): The House Boards, Agencies and Commissions Committee approved bills to regulate the practice of midwifery and a Senate-passed bill to immunize the Board of Licensure for Engineers and Land Surveyors when acting to protect public safety. The House County and Municipal Government Committee approved a bill to define the approval process by local governments for municipal solid waste facilities. The House Ways and Means Education Committee approved a Senate-passed bill to extend tax exempt status for United Way and related agencies from all taxes. The Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee approved an education budget that is substantially level funded for all agencies, including entities such as Tuskegee University, Lyman Ward Military Academy and Talladega College, which has achieved considerable recognition for the State of Alabama from its band’s participation in the recent presidential inauguration. The House passed a few bills of local application only and general bills to increase the jurisdictional limits for district courts relating to filing and docket fees and a standardized system for collecting excise taxes on compressed and liquefied gas. The Senate passed a general bill to create the crime of homicide by a vehicle or vessel.
  • On Thursday (13th day of session): The House passed a number of bills of local application only and general bills to create the Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act to prohibit the state from discriminating against childcare service providers under certain conditions; to create the Assisted Suicide Ban Act; to affirm the state’s commitment to the right to life of unborn children; and to authorize healthcare providers to decline to perform services that violate their conscience. The Senate passed several bills of local application only and general bills to authorize loan repayment programs for advanced practice nurses for certain currently certified nurses; to transfer the Information Services Division and State Business Systems Division from the Department of Finance to the Office of Information Technology; and Education Appropriations for FY2018 for Lyman Ward Military Academy, Tuskegee University and Talladega College.

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