The General Fund Budget passed the Senate on Tuesday afternoon following an extended debate 26-2. The $2 billion dollar budget is $158 million more than the 2018 budget thanks in part to growth and $92 million carried over from 2018. The biggest benefactor of the larger budget was the Department of Corrections which will receive a $50 million increase over 2018 dollars. The Department of Corrections is still working to address lawsuits from overcrowding and mental health care and the additional funds will be needed. The general fund budget also included $3.2 million to help hire 30 more state troopers.
While the Senate passed the General Fund, they have still not addressed a pay raise for state employees. There is not a consensus on if the raise should be 3% or a higher figure. The pay increase was a separated bill and can be added to the budget at a later time.
Other Bills of Interest
With the country still reeling from the terrible school tragedy in Florida last week, two legislators introduced bills to attempt to address the potential problem in Alabama. Representative Juandalynn Givan (D) introduced legislation last week that would limit the purchase of AR 15 style rifles to individuals 21 years or older instead of the current age of 18 in Alabama. Representative Will Ainsworth (R) introduced legislation that would allow teachers who are trained and certified to carry a firearm with them in school. Both have merit, but suspect both will face stiff opposition moving forward.
Bills of Interest to the Concrete Industry
There was no legislation introduced last week related to the concrete industry.
The legislature will reconvene on Tuesday, February 27th for the 15 legislative day.