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February 19, 2018 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

The Alabama Legislature got back to work last Tuesday with continued focus on local bills in addition to passing bills to fund public education in Alabama.
  • On Tuesday (11th day of session): The Housepassed a number of bills of local application only and bills to fund public education for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2018; to provide 2.5 percent cost-of-living increase for public education employees in K-12; and to extend the private hospital assessment and Medicaid funding program for the 2019 fiscal year. The Senate passed several bills of local application only and general bills to grant all professional educators’ associations the same level of access to employees of public schools; to clarify the law in regards to issuing pistol permits, providing that sheriffs may not impose time constraints on applicants in regards to taking possession of the license; and to revise the licensing process for EMS personnel to authorize criminal background checks.
  • On Wednesday (a committee day): The House Judiciary Committee approved bills to provide for payment of fees for DUI from the pretrial diversion programs to the Alabama Head and Spinal Cord Trust Fund; to provide the enumeration of certain capital offenses, including murder on a school campus and murder in a day care center; and a bill to expand the types of cases private judges can hear.  The House Ways and Means Committee approved a bill aimed at correctional officer retention. The House Military and Veteran Affairs Committee approved a bill requiring professional licensing boards to issue licenses and certificates to military spouses from other states. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved a bill to authorize nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and physician assistants to sign forms that may be signed by a physician. The Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee approved the General Fund Budget; the Children First Trust Fund appropriation; and a cost-of-living increase for state workers who have not had a raise in 10 years.
  • On Thursday (12th day of session): After a lengthy debate over a special order calendar, the House passed several bills of local application only, including final passage of several Senate-passed local bills. The chamber also passed few bills late in the evening, including a bill hailed as “Stand Your Ground Law for churches.” The Senate passed several bills of local application only and a bill to further provide for notification of low-risk sex offenders and House-passed bills to provide tax credits for hiring unemployed veterans and for preference given to veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the awarding of public contracts by state agencies and institutions.

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