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May 3, 2021 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

Major positive news came last week when the state learned the results of the 2020 Census, namely that Alabama will not lose any Congressional seats, a possibility some feared before the official numbers were all in.

More good news came on the economic and workforce development front, as Alabama was designated a Defense Manufacturing Community by the Department of Defense.

In the legislature, the Education Budget was approved and is now headed to the Governor. The General Fund Budget is likely not far behind.

And speaking of Governor Ivey, she’s been named in a lawsuit concerning the state’s latest prison-construction project.

Find details on all this and more below. And with just a few days left in the session (it’s scheduled to end on May 17 with a week off after this week), things will be busy, so stay tuned to Group Watch!

The House and Senate return on May 4 at 2 pm. Watch live video of both chambers here.

  • Tuesday, April 27 (26th legislative day): The House passed several bills of local application only and general Senate-passed bills to fund public education in the State of Alabama as well as supplemental appropriations to certain agencies and non-state educational institutions. It also gave final approval to other Senate-passed bills to: further provide for the authority of local land banks related to delinquent property taxes; provide for the recovery of public funds by county and municipal authorities for the repair or replacement of private sewer laterals; and to authorize counties and municipalities to use reserves in excess of $1 million for lawful purposes. The Senate passed bills to authorize and regulate water bottle use in public K-12 schools and the Alabama G.I. and Dependents’ Educational Benefit Act for use of scholarships at in-state 2- and 4-year institutions.
  • Wednesday, April 28 (a committee day): The House Ways and Means Education Committee approved Senate-passed bills to create the Education Retirees’ Trust Fund Funding Act to provide for future periodic bonus checks for education retirees and to require the State Department of Education to develop a program to address the mental health of students. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved House-passed bills to: require every judicial circuit to establish a community punishment and corrections program; provide that the Permanent Legislative Committee on Reapportionment intervene in any legal action that contests the validity of the committee; and further provide for the crime of possession of a gambling device. The Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee approved House-passed bills to established the Alabama State Reservoir Management Development Program and provide for matching grants to entities receiving Small Business Innovation Research or Small Business Technology grants.
  • Thursday, April 29 (27th legislative day): The House passed several Senate-passed bills of local application only and general Senate-passed bills to: allow the awarding authority of a competitive bid to negotiate lowest bidder when all bids exceed available funding; further provide for municipal entities to issue summons and complaints in lieu of custodial arrest; and further provide for the authority and duty of pharmacy benefits managers. The Senate passed a number of House-passed bills of local application only and general House-passed bills to further provide for the Math and Science Teacher Education Program aimed at attracting more persons into math, science and computer science as teachers; and for the General Fund budget to provide a cost-of-living salary increase for agencies of state government, and other non-governmental entities receiving specific appropriations.

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