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April 10, 2017 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

The Alabama Legislature returned to work on Tuesday, April 4 for the 14th day of the session, following a two-week break. Debate on the Education Trust Fund Budget dominated the Senate on Tuesday. Here are a few other highlights:

  • On Tuesday (14th day of session): The House passed a couple of bills of local application only and general bills to prohibit a court from overriding a unanimous jury verdict and to require tax preparers to provide federal identification on Alabama income tax returns; to exempt counties and municipalities such as water works from competitive bids for repair of heavy equipment or vehicles when the repair is performed by an authorized dealer or service center; and to revise the process by which local governments approve new municipal solid waste facilities.  The Senate debated the Education Trust Fund Budget and finally passed it as well as a supplemental appropriation for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and a bill to provide tuition assistance to the dependents of veterans.
  • On Wednesday (a committee day): The House Ways and Means Education Committee approved bills to exempt from sales and use tax the proceeds from the sale of gold, silver and platinum bullion and coins; to provide exemptions from state and local sales and use tax certain public water, sewer, gas, electric and fire protection authorities, boards and systems; and to authorize an income tax credit for rehabilitation of historic buildings. The House Ways and Means General Fund Committee approved bills to authorize the use of proceeds from the Circuit Clerk’s Judicial Administration Fund for pay raises for circuit clerks and to exclude from lodging tax areas not used for lodging.  The Jefferson County Legislation Committee approved bills relating to the investment of funds in the Birmingham Fireman and Policemen’s Supplemental Pension System and revisions to the operations of the Birmingham retirement and relief system. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill to authorize a mayor to remit court costs under certain circumstances.
  • On Thursday (15th day of session): The House passed everal bills of local application only and general bills to provide certain exemptions from workers’ compensation and to establish an optional increased standard deduction for qualifying taxpayers. They also gave final approval to a Senate-passed bill referred to as the “Tax Exemption Reform Act of 2017.” The Senate passed several bills of local application only and general bills to exempt the Southern Research Institute in Birmingham from state, county and local taxes and to require appeals of board of zoning adjustment decisions be filed with circuit court.

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