Another week of the Alabama legislature has come and gone without much fanfare. The biggest news was made not on Goat Hill, but instead by the decision of Governor Ivey to move the special election for the US Senate seat to 2017. Former governor Robert Bentley had refrained from holding the special election due to the high cost, but Ivey felt the people should have a say who represents them prior to 2018. Senator Strange immediately announced his intentions to run along with state representative Ed Henry. State senators Trip Pittman, Slade Blackwell, and President Pro Tem Del Marsh are also considering running for the seat.
The most notable action in the legislature this week was the passage of SB24 by Gerald Allen. The bill allows individuals to carry a gun without a pistol permit issued by a sheriff department. Representatives from the Sheriff’s organizations have testified the bill would make them less safe while proponents argue there is no evidence to support this claim. SB 24 was passed by the Senate on Tuesday but not without a cloture vote to end discussion of the bill. The bill now moves over to the House for passage.
Bills of Interest to the Concrete Industry
Senate Bill 386 by Senator Arthur Orr would allow a county to call a referendum on a gas tax not to exceed $.05 per gallon for the construction of specific projects. ALDOT and counties continue to struggle with adequate funding and this legislation would provide a potential source for the counties. The bill will be discussed by the Senate Transportation Committee today. House Bill 487, by Representative Bill Poole which would have increased the gas tax by $.09, was another vehicle to raise funds, but the legislation appears to be dead until at least 2019. That said, there is an effort by business groups to bring the legislation back if enough votes can be secured for the budget isolation request. A BIR is needed to vote on legislation considered before passage of the budget.
The other bill of interest to the concrete industry is SB302 by Senator Cam Ward. SB 302 would fund the construction of 3 mega prisons. The legislation passed the Senate over a month ago, but has not been placed on the agenda for the House Judiciary Committee since then.
The Alabama Legislature has now used 20 of the possible 30 meeting days. Still on the docket is the Education Trust Fund Budget, the General Fund Budget, and approval of the redistricting plan for the 12 districts struck down by the courts.
If you have any questions about this report, please contact our office. The legislature reconvenes Tuesday, April 25th.