March 27, 2023 Group Watch: Tweet of the Week

@MattSimpson
March 25
105-0 with 101 co-sponsors. HB1 heads to the Senate #alpolitics

March 27, 2023 Group Watch: Day-by-Day, Play-by-Play

On Tuesday (2nd day of regular session): 

  • The Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee approved several bills to increase compensation for certified local emergency management directors, circuit clerks in the court system, court-appointed attorneys in commitment proceedings and members of county boards of registrars. 
  • The Senate County and Municipal Government Committee approved bills to prohibit a municipality from setting speed limits on county-maintained streets within its corporate limits and to provide prohibitions on the adoption of certain building codes requiring the installation of certain latent features in residential structures. 
  • The Senate Education Policy Committee approved bills to establish Alabama as a member-state of the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact, to include adrenal insufficiency as a condition covered by the Alabama Safe at Schools Act, and to require K-12 schools to install, maintain and operate video cameras in certain self-contained classrooms providing special education services.

On Wednesday (3rd day of regular session):

  • The House Judiciary Committee approved a bill to require a mandatory minimum sentence for certain drug trafficking offenses. 
  • The House Children and Senior Advocacy Committee approved bills to create the Alabama Minor Adoption Code and the Alabama Adult Adoption Code, and to authorize the use of up to eight weeks of sick leave for attending to an ill child for whom a petition for adoption has been filed and for attending to an adopted child. 
  • The House Ways and Means General Fund Committee approved bills to increase the maximum compensation a Teachers Retirement System or Employees Retirement System retiree may earn from $30,000 to $52,000, and to increase the compensation for circuit clerks. 
  • The House Ways and Means Committee approved a bill to increase the competitive bidding floor for city and county boards of education from $15,000 to $40,000 with further increases authorized based upon the consumer price index. 
  • The House Education Policy Committee approved a bill to require local boards of education to develop and adopt interdistrict enrollment policies. 
  • The Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee approved bills to eliminate the two-percent tax rate on the first $500 of taxable income for single persons and $1,000 for couples, and to exempt the first $10,000 of retirement income for those who are 65 years of age and older from state income tax. 
  • The Senate State Governmental Affairs Committee approved a bill to require any approved electronic vote counting system used in an election to require the use of paper ballots.

On Thursday (4th day of of regular session):

  • The House passed bills to provide for mandatory minimum sentences for certain felony drug trafficking offenses and a bill to provide for jurisdictional and procedural requirements to streamline the adoption process in Alabama. 
  • The Senate passed bills to reduce the amount of correctional incentive time prisoners may receive if they are involved in certain activities that result in a change in their classification; to further provide for the compensation for appointed attorneys in commitment proceeding; to amend the Safe Schools Act to require the State Board of Education to train certain school employees to administer injectable medications to students; and to require local boards of education to install and maintain video cameras in self-contained special education classrooms.

March 27, 2023 Group Watch: Bill to Impose Mandatory Prison for Fentanyl Clears First Hurdle

A bill to impose mandatory prison time for possessing one gram or more of pure fentanyl cleared its first hurdle in the legislature. The House Judiciary Committee approved the bill by Rep. Matt Simpson, R-Daphne, which takes aim at the drug that caused overdose deaths on almost a daily basis in Jefferson County in 2021 and is connected to about 70,000 deaths a year in the United States. Simpson’s message is clear and straightforward: If you are trafficking fentanyl in Alabama, we are coming after you, and there is going to be a steep price to pay in the form of serious prison time. The measure passed the full House on Thursday.

March 27, 2023 Group Watch: Adoption Could Soon Be Simpler in Alabama

A bill, sponsored by Rep. Ginny Shaver, R-Cherokee County, that will streamline the adoption process in the state was passed in the House last week on a 105-0 vote. House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter said the move resulted in a “good day for children in Alabama.” Read more here.

March 27, 2023 Group Watch: Medical Device Maker Adding 30 Jobs in Houston County

Global Resources International and its subsidiary Advanced Product Solutions (GRI-APS) plan to create 30 jobs in the Houston County community of Columbia through a $1.6 million expansion project at a facility. GRI-APS will utilize a former 40,750-square-foot Russell Corp. building in Columbia to manufacture operating room procedure kits for both animal and human use, according to the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce. A company representative said the company will begin the hiring process for these 30 jobs in the fourth quarter, with hopes to have the new location operational by the first quarter of 2024. Founded in 2000, Global Resources International Inc. is a privately held U.S. corporation and a leading provider of comprehensive contract manufacturing services, medical devices, industrial products and protective solutions. It is based Flowery Branch, Georgia, in the Metropolitan Atlanta area.

March 27, 2023 Group Watch: “Made in Alabama” Brand Marks 10 Years 

The Alabama Department of Commerce’s “Made in Alabama” brand is marking its 10thanniversary, a significant milestone for a long-lasting state marketing campaign that helped propel a robust period of economic development. Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield launched the “Made in Alabama” brand at a press event on the steps of the Capitol on March 19, 2013. Since that time, Alabama’s economic development efforts have yielded more than $60 billion in new capital investment and almost 130,000 jobs in key industries, and “Made in Alabama” has been there every step of the way to tell the story. The branding and marketing initiative resulted from a set of recommendations included in Accelerate Alabama, the state’s comprehensive strategic economic development plan adopted in 2012.

March 27, 2023 Group Watch: Ivey: Four years of Rebuilding Alabama

March 12 marked the fourth anniversary of Rebuild Alabama, possibly the most monumental legislation ever passed in Alabama’s history. Since its enactment, Rebuild Alabama has accounted for record investment across the state. These investments are represented in 234 projects in all 67 counties, 400 miles of resurfaced roadways, and more than $170 million in state transportation funding awarded to cities and counties. Four years after its enactment, it is clear that Rebuild Alabama’s overall impact extends beyond roads and bridges. Driver safety, commercial efficiency and economic productivity are aspects of the enhanced quality of life being delivered by Rebuild Alabama. It also tells the world Alabama is open for business.

March 27, 2023 Group Watch: Senate Passes Healthcare Facility Visitors’ Bill

The Alabama Senate unanimously passed legislation to protect visitation requirements for healthcare facilities. The bill will ensure residents, clients or patients of a healthcare facility are afforded the right to visit with anyone during visiting hours. It would also give essential caregivers a minimum of two hours a day for visitation. The bill goes on to require that any safety-related policies or procedures may not be more stringent than those established for the healthcare facility’s staff, and it prohibits a healthcare facility from requiring visitors to show proof of vaccination or from prohibiting consensual physical contact between a visitor and a resident, client or patient. The legislation will require healthcare facilities to provide visitation policies and procedures to the Department of Public Health when applying for licensing, renewal, or change of ownership.

March 27, 2023 Group Watch: State Unemployment Rate Ties All-Time Low

The Alabama unemployment rate for February tied an all-time low, according to figures released by the governor’s office. The state’s seasonally adjusted February rate is 2.5 percent, tying the record low and down from January’s rate of 2.6 percent. According to the Alabama Department of Labor, wage and salary employment, totaling 2,133,500 in February, increased 15,900 over the month. Monthly gains were seen in the professional and business services sector (+3,800), the government sector (+3,500), the leisure and hospitality sector (+3,400), the private-education and health-services sector (+3,200), the manufacturing sector (+1,100), the construction sector (+700) and the information sector (+300), among others. Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Homewood and Madison at 1.5 percent, Trussville and Vestavia Hills at 1.6 percent, and Alabaster, Hoover and Northport all at 1.7 percent. Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 6.5 percent, Pritchard at 4.3 percent and Bessemer at 3.8 percent.

March 20, 2023 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

The Alabama Legislature’s special session came to a close last week. The work done resulted in a concensus on how and where to spend the state’s ARPA funds and the governor signing the plans into law. This week, the 2023 regular session resumes.

In other news, prison-building projects are moving forward, there’s talk of a new plan to stop taxing groceries, and multiple Alabama leaders assured residents that our state’s banks are stable and strong amid the fears threatening to rock the national banking system.

Read more on these topics and other #alpolitics happenings below.

The House and Senate return on Tuesday March 21 
at 1 PM and 3:30 PM respectively for 2nd day of the regular session.

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