April 12, 2019
The Alabama Legislature will return to action today for the 9th of a possible 30 meeting days in 2019. There have been 428 bills introduced in the House of Representatives and 277 in the Senate thus far.
Reviewing last week’s happenings on Goat Hill, the biggest news was the passage of a $2.1 billion dollar General Fund budget out of the House. The budget is 4% larger than the current budget the state is operating under. Included in the appropriations were an additional $40 million for prisons and a 2% cost of living increase for state employees. The $40 million increase will be used to hire needed prison guards and increase salaries. The state is continuing to face ongoing prison problems and a shortage of guards is at the top of the list. Overcapacity and mental health problems are also on the list, and the state is considering the construction of new prisons to address the two issues. The construction plan is not without its distractions, and legislation was introduced last week to require legislative approval before the state can enter into leasing prisons from non-government agencies. The current proposal would see the prisons built by non-government entities, and the state would lease the prisons back. There is no easy answer for a problem that has been ignored for many years.
Issues of importance to the concrete industry
Representative Joe Lovvorn of Auburn last week introduced House Bill 428 that would provide a tax credit for construction of a safe room in a home or a multi-family development. The credit is capped at $6,000 for residences and $25,000 for multi-family applications. Alabama has now experienced a record number of tornadoes in the first three and half months of 2019, and also ranks at the top in the number of deaths by deadly storms in the United States. Providing a tax credit to residents who want to build a storm shelter seems to be a common sense approach to protecting the population.
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