March 12, 2018 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

News & Views from the State House

Things keep moving ahead, running relatively smoothly, and last week in the Legislature saw the passage of more local bills, in addition to bills to provide education associations equal access to public school employees.
  • On Tuesday (17th day of session): The House passed several bills of local application only and general bills to revise membership of the Workforce Council; to further define “aggravating circumstances” if a victim is a law enforcement or correctional officer, first responder or under the age of 14 years of age; and to grant all professional educators’ associations the same level of access to employees of public schools. The Senate passed several bills of local application only and general bills to establish the Alabama Cold War Victory Medal Act; to revise the qualifications for certain municipalities to establish entertainment districts; and to revise the definition of a protected person under the Adult Protective Services Act.
  • On Wednesday (a committee day): The House Health Committee approved a Senate-passed bill to authorized certain healthcare providers to sign forms that may be signed by a physician. The House Ways and Means General Fund Committee approved Senate-passed bills to fund the Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Children First Fund, a cost-of-living increase for state workers and a one-time lump sum bonus for state retirees and the General Fund Budget for agencies of state government. The House Judiciary Committee approved a bill relating to revision of the Juvenile Justice System with several committee amendments. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved a bill to create the Alabama Rural Hospital Resources Center within the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee approved a bill that provides an income tax credit to a business that loses an employee to another business receiving an economic tax incentive from state government. It also approved House-passed bills to fund Lyman Ward Military Academy, Tuskegee University and a supplemental appropriation to the Alabama Community College System.
  • On Thursday (18th day of session): The House passed a large number of bills with local application only and general bills to eliminate the restricted sales of products by manufacturers of alcoholic beverages; to authorize additional types of community development districts to include marinas on lakes; to authorize the sale of tax liens at auction to the bidder with the lowest interest rate; and to reduce the notice period for lease termination. The Senate also passed a large number of bills with local application only and general bills to require a parenting plan in all child custody matters and to require County School Superintendents be appointed unless provided otherwise by constitution.

3/12/2018 Group Watch: Tweet of the Week

March 7
Great night at @HighlandsAL 1st Wednesday Montgomery. #alpolitics

3/12/2108 Group Watch: Tax Bill Passes

SB76, sponsored by Senator Del Marsh (R–Anniston), which raises the threshold for claiming the maximum exception for state income taxes for low- and middle income earners, passed on a unanimous vote in the House last week, marking its final passage. It now goes to the governor for her signature. It is estimated that the bill will save taxpayers $4 million a year.

3/12/2018 Group Watch: Sadie Grace Bill Passes

The entire House gave a standing ovation to Corrie Andrews after passing bill named after her daughter Sadie Grace with a 99-0 vote. The bill is simple. It requires covers to be placed on grease traps to prevent someone from falling through. The legislation comes after tragedy, when 3-year old Sadie Grace Andrews fell into a grease trap at a local business and drowned. With the bill passing and highly likely to be signed by the governor, the measure is sure to save lives in the future.

3/12/2018 Group Watch: Cyber Bullying Bill Passes

The Alabama House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill to protect children from cyberbullying in honor of a 10-year old boy who committed suicide last year. The fifth grader took his own life after he was bullied online last October. The child’s mother was present in the state house for the bill’s passage. The bill had 88 co-sponsors in the 105-member House.

3/12/2018 Group Watch: Gov Ivey School Safety Plan

Governor Kay Ivey unveiled the framework for her school safety initiative. The governor was joined by law enforcement, education and legislative officials. The governor’s four pronged approach calls for support funds for school security; strategies to enable schools to better identify threats; asking schools to standardize how they respond to school emergencies; and establishes by executive order the governor’s Securing Alabama Facilities of Education (SAFE) Council. The council is expected to report to the governor by April 30.

3/12/2018 Group Watch: Budgets Moving Full Speed Ahead

Both the General Fund Budget and the Education Trust Fund Budget have sailed through committees and both chambers this session, just two large examples of a year where controversy (and the slow-downs that come with it) has been kept to a minimum. Both budgets are looking at possible final passage votes this week.

3/12/2018 Group Watch: Senate Limits Payday Loan Terms

Last Thursday, The Alabama Senate voted 20-4 to approve a bill that increases the term of repayment for short-term loans to 30 days. Payday loans are short-term loans that extend from 10 to 31 days and can carry interest rates in Alabama that run up to 437 percent APR. Critics say people who take out a loan find themselves taking out a second loan to pay the first, trapping them in a cycle of debt. Senator Arthur Orr of Decatur sponsored the measure and acknowledges that it will be a challenge to get the bill through the House. Orr’s bill would require all loans to last 30 days, which would cut the APR in half.

March 5, 2018 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

The Legislature’s work last week got a step closer to putting more money in many Alabamians’ pockets, as the Senate passed bills to provide raises and bonuses for state workers and retirees.
  • On Tuesday (15th day of session): The House passed several bills of local application only and general bills to increase the criminal penalties for encouraging litigation; to authorize federally qualified health centers to deliver medications to clinics; and passed Senate-passed bills to further provide centralized waste treatment facilities and substituted a Senate-passed bill relating to the practice of dentistry, which now must be reconciled. The Senate passed bills of local application only and general bills to authorize certain healthcare providers to sign forms that may be signed by a physician; to provide for a one-time lump sum bonus to retired teachers; and to provide for a cost-of-living increase for active state workers.
  • On Wednesday (a committee day): The House Judiciary Committee approved a bill to provide civil immunity to persons providing transportation to healthcare providers without compensation. The House Ways and Means Education Committee approved a bill defining the filing requirement threshold to be the sum on the standard deduction and personal exemptions. The House County and Municipal Government Committee approved a bill to authorize tax liens to be sold at auction to the bidder with the lowest interest rate. The House Education Policy Committee approved bills to create a Task Force on school safety and security and to revise the requirement of juvenile probation officers to provide certain information to schools regarding the crime of possessing deadly weapons on school property. The Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee approved a bill to allow the direct shipment of alcoholic beverages to the consumer under certain conditions. The Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee approved a bill to allow an income tax credit offset only for liability derived from non-Alabama sources.
  • On Thursday (16th day of session): The House passed a number of bills of local application only and general bills to define warranties and remedies for the New Assistive Devices Warranty Act; to provide an income tax credit only offset tax liability derived from non-Alabama sources; and to authorize certain healthcare providers to sign forms that may be signed by a physicians. The Senate passed the Alabama Data Breach Notification Act and a bill to authorize the use of electronic communication for notification of persons relating to court costs and fees.

3/5/2018 Group Watch: Cavanaugh & Ainsworth Get Endorsements

Manufacture Alabama announced that it has endorsed Public Services Commission President Twinkle Cavanaugh for lieutenant governor in the 2018 Republican primary, while the Alabama Forestry Association endorsed Will Ainsworth for the job with a tweet that asked its followers to consider supporting the candidate with a donation.  Manufacture Alabama President George Clark cited Cavanaugh’s conservative leadership, experience and reputation for the association’s endorsement and said she has proven herself to be a champion for manufacturers and an advocate for all Alabamians. Manufacture Alabama is the state’s only trade association dedicated to the competitive, legislative, regulatory and operational interests and needs of manufacturers and their partner industries and businesses.

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