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April 15, 2019 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

The Alabama Legislature got a lot of “hum-drum” work done last week, passing non-controversial and local-application-only bills with little fanfare. Bigger issues include a possible pay raise for state employees and the passage of the Anti-Road Rage Act. Here’s a day-by-day recap.
  • Tuesday, Day 8 of Regular Session: The House passed the General Fund budget, the Children First appropriations and supplemental appropriation bills. They also passed an enabling bill to provide a cost of living adjustment for state workers beginning October 1, 2019. The Senate passed a number of non-controversial bills and bills of local application only. They also passed bills to further provide for retirement benefits for local employers participating in the Employee Retirement System (ERS) and to establish the Innovation Act, which provides tax credits for qualified research expenses.
  • Wednesday, a committee day: The House Ways and Means General Fund Committee approved a bill relating to the simplified sellers use tax to include provisions for amnesty and class actions. The House Financial Services Committee approved a bill relating to the Taxpayers Bill of Rights to eliminate the prohibition against entering into installment payment agreements with certain taxpayers. The House County and Municipal Government Committee approved a bill to further provide for procedures and timing for municipalities seeking a council-manager form of government. The Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee approved a bill providing a one-time, lump-sum payout to Employees’ Retirement System retirees and beneficiaries. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved bills to prohibit racial profiling by law enforcement officers; to provide that a conviction of a parent for rape or incest is a ground for termination of parental rights if the rape or incest resulted in the conception of the child; and to reallocate the number of circuit judges and district judges every 20 years based on population.
  • Thursday, Day 9 of Regular Session: The House passed the Anti-Road Rage Act, which prohibits motorists from driving more than a mile and a half in the left lane on interstates. The House also passed a bill to require public employees to be given 10 days in which to request a personnel hearing and requiring that suspension be for a period not to exceed 30 business days, and a bill to authorize the taking of whitetail deer or feral swine by means of bait, when a baiting privilege license is purchased under certain conditions. The Senate gave final approval to 14 House-passed sunset bills that authorize continued operation of those approved. They also confirmed several persons nominated to serve on state boards and commissions.

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