Goat Hill Report, Week Ending Feb. 12, 2016

Alabama Transportation Safety Fund Held Over in Committee

SB 180 by Senator Gerald Dial that would create the Alabama Transportation Safety Fund was carried over in committee last week after special interest from the farming and forestry industry attempted to modify the bill in committee. SB 180 would establish any new funds generated by the way of a tax increase would be distributed to ALDOT, counties, and cities using the current breakdown. Under the current system, ALDOT receives 45% of gas tax with 55% going to counties and cities. ALDOT receives nearly all of the diesel tax. ALFA and The Alabama Forestry Association offered a substituted bill that would have increased the contribution to counties. The groups are heavily effected by weight limited bridges and the poor condition of rural roads and believe the problem can only be fixed by increased funding to the local jurisdictions.

Committee Chairman Senator Gerald Allen carried the bill over until the next meeting as it appeared SB 180 could have been voted down. If the bill would have been voted down, the legislation would have been dead for the session and made the passage of a new diesel and gas tax much more challenging.

Alabama Uniform Minimum Wage and Right-to-Work Act Passes Out of Committee

The Alabama Legislature quickly took steps this week to preempt cities and counties from creating a local minimum wage and mandating other benefits for private employees. After a public hearing and committee approval Thursday, HB174 by Rep. David Faulkner, R-Birmingham, and Rep. Arnold Mooney, R-Birmingham, will be debated Tuesday on the House floor. Fifty-one other House members have signed on as cosponsors of the bill. The Alabama Uniform Minimum Wage and Right-to-Work Act “reaffirms that Alabama is a pro-business state,” Faulkner told the House State Government Committee. His bill prohibits local governments from requiring minimum wages, paid or unpaid leave, vacation time or work schedules. Nationwide, some 30 cities and counties have established their own minimum wages, mostly in California. The federal minimum wage would continue to apply to Alabama employees under the bill.

The Alabama Legislature reconvenes today at 1 pm. For any questions or concerns, please contact the ACIA office at 334.265.0501.

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