March 13, 2023 Group Watch: Alabama One of Multiple States Ready to Stop Time Changes

There is currently talk of the federal government doing away with the annual time shifts that most Americans are now used to. A bill to keep the nation on daylight savings time permanently passed the Senate in 2022. Ahead of the bill passing the House and making it to President Biden, multiples states have already passed their own laws ending annual time changes. Alabama is among them, with the legislature almost unanimously passing a bill that Governor Ivey signed into law in 2021. Read more here.

March 13, 2023 Group Watch: DeSantis In Alabama Last Week

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made a stop in Alabama last week as a guest of the Alabama Republican Party’s annual winter dinner. While he has yet to formally declare his intentions to run for president in 2024, his speech sounded a lot like a campaign stop. Read more here.

February 2023 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

The next issue of Group Watch will provide you with details from the first week of the Alabama Legislatures 2023 regular session, which begins March 7, but bills are already being pre-filed and one hot-button issue some hope would be legislated — Medicaid expansion — has already been declared pretty much dead, at least by a leading senator.

And while lawmakers prepare to debate and vote over the next few months, Alabama’s economy and industry keep humming along, with new business announcements and some promising news on the state’s exports coming out last week. 

Keep reading to learn more on these topics and other #alpolitics activity and news.

February 2023 Group Watch: Tweet of the Week

Feb 20
State health officer, mayors, school officials laud departing Jefferson County health officer Dr. Mark Wilson.

February 2023 Group Watch: Senator Orr Calls Hopes for Medicaid Expansion “Crazy”

Hospital margins in Alabama have dropped 79 percent since the start of the pandemic, according to a study by Kaufman Hall, a national healthcare and higher education consulting firm. As a result, some hospital leaders are calling on the legislature to pass some kind of Medicaid expansion this session. State Senator Arthur Orr, who chairs a senate appropriations committee, said he doesn’t believe there is any will to pass a Medicaid expansion this year. Orr said the estimated $200-$300-million-a-year price tag is likely the biggest hurdle to passing an expansion. He went on to say that while the general fund budget is in good shape now, that could always change and legislators don’t have the “appetite” to take on the additional cost or add to the state’s dependency on federal dollars.

February 2023 Group Watch: Twinkle Cavanaugh Announces Run for PSC President

Twinkle Cavanaugh is hoping to remain Alabama’s Public Service Commission president even after her current term ends; on Monday, she said she’ll be seeking re-election in 2024. She called standing up to President Biden and his administration’s “unrealistic and unworkable ideas on energy and the environment” prime motivators for her to run for the office again. Read more here.

February 2023 Group Watch: Gambling Legislation in Alabama Not Likely This Session

While a variety of bills seeking to make a lottery and other forms of gambling legal in Alabama have popped up on the legislative agenda in recent years, those in the know claim that this year, it’s doubtful any such legislation will come up. There seems to be some disagreement as to the reasons behind this. Read more here.

February 2023 Group Watch: Prisoner Early Release Law Could be Paused

Senator Chris Elliott, R-Mobile, has pre-filed a bill to stop the early release of prisoners scheduled thanks to bill passed into law in 2015 that was part of criminal justice reform efforts. Elliot’s bill calls for pausing all releases until 2030. He wants the hold on the implementation of the law to give lawmakers and others the time he says is needed to consider the implications and reflect on “the very serious public safety implications” of the 2015 law.

February 2023 Group Watch: Bill Banning Mandatory Microchipping Expected 

While no businesses in Alabama currently require employees to be microchipped, a bill to ban any such requirement in Alabama in the future may show up in this legislative session. In some European countries, residents are happily and voluntarily being microchipped, using the tech to access public transport and pay for goods. Proponents of a ban on microchips mandatory use in Alabama point to privacy concerns and possible objections based on religion. Read more here.

February 2023 Group Watch: Gov Ivey Awards Grants to Boost Law Enforcement Efforts

Governor Kay Ivey has awarded $5.6 million in grants to support statewide programs designed to increase public safety on Alabama’s highways and in the state’s communities. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) is administering the grants from funds made available to the state by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Department of Justice. The monies are being distributed as follows:

  • $1.42 million was awarded to the Franklin County Commission for the North Central Alabama Highway Safety Office, which serves Colbert, Cullman, Dekalb, Fayette, Franklin, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Jackson, Madison, Marshall, Marion Morgan, Pickens, Walker and Winston counties.
  • $1.66 million to the city of Opelika for the East Central Alabama Highway Safety Office, which serves Blount, Calhoun, Chambers, Cherokee, Chilton, Clay, Cleburne, Coosa, Elmore, Etowah, Jefferson, Lee, Macon, Randolph, St. Clair, Shelby, Talladega and Tallapoosa counties.
  • $1.14 million for the Southeast Alabama Regional Highway Safety Office at Enterprise State Community College, which serves Autauga, Barbour, Bibb, bullock, Butler, Coffee, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Lowndes Montgomery, Pike, Russell and Tuscaloosa counties.
  • $993,266 to the Mobile County Commission for the Southwest Regional Highway Safety Office, which serves Baldwin, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Dallas, Escambia, Greene, Hale, Marengo, Mobile, Monroe, Perry, Sumter, Washington and Wilcox counties.
  • $203,558 to the University of Alabama Center for Advanced Public Safety, which uses funds for technology development projects that improve data quality, timeliness, completeness and the efficiency of officers and emergency medical services personnel across the state.
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