Published April 4, 2017 | ALConcrete.org
The Alabama Legislature reconvenes Tuesday, April 4th, after their two week Spring Break hiatus. The legislature has used 13 of the possible 30 meeting days allowed by law. Still remaining to be addressed are a number of important issues including passage of the Education Trust Fund Budget and the General Fund Budget, redistricting of 13 illegal districts, and the prison construction legislation. If this was not enough, the work of the impeachment committee in the House is hanging over the entire session.
Issues of importance to the Concrete Industry
Prison Construction Legislation Passes Senate
Senate Bill 302 by Senator Cam Ward, which would fund the construction of three new men’s prison, cleared the Senate prior to the break. The bill is vastly different than the original prison legislation brought earlier in the session that allowed the state to borrow $800 million to build three men’s prisons and one women’s prison. Under the new bill, local communities would be allowed to form authorities and borrow money to build new prison facilities for up to $225 million. If two communities agree to build a prison, the state could issue a bond — now capped at $325 million — to build its own prison and renovate existing ones. The bonds for the prisons would be funded through savings the Department of Corrections is forecasting from closing outdated facilities. I would expect the bill to see more changes before it is all said and done. The ACIA supports the prison legislation.
Gas Tax Legislation Expected
We anticipate the introduction of a gas and diesel tax bill to raise needed funds for the Alabama Department of Transportation. The proposal will call for a $.04 increase in 2017 and a $.02 increase in 2019. A conditional increase of $.03 would occur in 2024 pending approval by the legislature. The increased revenue will be used to fund a $1.2 billion dollar bond for cities and counties, and a $1.2 billion dollar bond for ALDOT. Raising taxes is going to be tough in any environment, but a strong contingency of business organizations are signed up to support the effort. You are encouraged to contact your legislator to ask them to support the effort.
Truck Weight Issues
We continue to monitor SB 55 and HB 81 that would allow for increase weights on the interstate if your truck uses CNG fuel. As mentioned in the past, the original legislation mistakenly overwrote the legislation we passed in 2016 to increase concrete truck weights. We have added amendments or substituted the bills to correct the issue but are still closely monitoring the legislation due to other groups wanting to secure a similar exemption to the one enjoyed by the concrete industry.
If you have any questions about this report, please contact our office.