Legislature Down to Two Days
The Alabama legislature is expected to meet Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. This will be the last two days for the legislative session of 2016. While the clock has nearly run out, two hot button issues are still awaiting final passage before the end of the session. The first, Senate Bill 287 by Trip Pittman would allow the state to borrow $800 million to build 4 mega prisons to ease prison overcrowding. The second, House Bill 569 by Steve Clouse would allow the state to issue $639 million in bonds to pay back the rainy day fund and construct highways in Baldwin and Mobile County. The legislation also frees up money in the general fund to provide an additional $70 million for the state’s Medicaid budget. The bonds for HB569 would be issued against the state’s $1 billion dollar BP settlement.
Senate Bill 287 passed the House on Thursday, but differs from the legislation passed in the Senate due to amendments that were added. In order for the legislation to be passed, the Senate must concur with the House changes. It is anticipated the Senate will accept the House version.
House Bill 569 must be passed by the full Senate in the short time frame. While the legislation is probably the best method to spending the BP settlement, the legislation differs greatly from Senate Bill 287 by Bill Hightower that spent all of the BP funds on road projects with a heavy emphasis in Mobile and Baldwin County. Senate Bill 287 passed the full house but died in the House Ways and Means committee. HB569 is likely to meet resistance in the Senate as only two counties will see road projects funded by the bonds.
Gas Tax Bill Dead
House Bill 394 by Mac McCutcheon officially died last week. The legislation had enough support in the House to pass, but Representative McCutcheon did not bring the bill to the floor due to lack of support in the Senate. Passage of the gas tax in the Senate would have required 21 votes to cloture the guaranteed filibustering of the legislation. The coalition which included the association could only find 19 votes of the 21 needed.
Concrete Truck Weight Bill Signed by Governor Bentley
The association’s top priority for 2016, HB 88 by Barry Moore was signed by the Governor on Tuesday, April 26, 2016. The legislation will become law on August 1, 2016. Removing the sunset committee bills and budgets, only 40 bills have passed the legislature in 2016. The ACIA is very fortunate to have passed 6 bills in the past 6 sessions.