The Alabama Legislature will convene today for the 5th and possible last day of the special session. Both the House and Senate transportation committees met yesterday, and approved the Rebuild Alabama bills on their agenda. There was very little discussion, and no push back on the bills by either committee. That cleared the way for today’s action. In fairness, the bills have been front and center for the past four days and there are no secrets in the bills at this point. A legislator could change their vote, but most are now locked in for support or opposition to the gas tax package.
The Senate will attempt to pass HB1 – Accountability Package, HB2 – $.10 gas tax, and HB3 – Port Dredging Bond as approved by the House on Friday. If the Senate keeps the bills the same as passed by the House, the package can move to the Governor for her signature. If the Senate adds amendments, the House could concur with the changes or a conference committee would have to be formed to work out the differences. While this is not a huge challenge, it does causes headaches.
The House is schedule to take up SB2 (Accountability Bill) which is the Senate Version of the accountability portion of the package. The Senate version is different than the House version. Time will tell, but the House could approve Senate Bill 2, and then the Senate could sit on HB1. This would ensure the same accountability bill had been approved by both chambers and any messy issues are avoided. The House also has a UTV/ATV bill on its calendar, but this was an add-on bill unrelated to the gas tax.
We are nearing the finish line of the special session. The biggest stumbling block at this point is any amendments added/stripped out in the Senate. As mentioned, any amendments would send the bills back to the House. I feel confident in saying the House members hope to avoid the issue.
We will keep you abreast of any changes and please call should you have any questions.