The Alabama Legislature has met for 23 of its possible 30 meeting days, and will likely adjourn after meeting only two days this week. This is very atypical of an organization that often goes to the last minute to pass the budgets. A long time employee of the legislature recently told me in their 28 years, they had never seen a session end early.
The $2.03 billion dollar General Fund Budget was signed by the Governor on Thursday. The budget is $160 million larger than the current budget. Included in the increase was an additional $54 million for the Department of Corrections, and a 3% cost of living pay raise for state employees. While the 2019 General Fund budget is in great shape, funding the pay raises next year is going to be more challenging.
The $6.6 billion dollar Education Trust Fund is expected to receive final approval this week. The budget has passed both the House and Senate, but due to minor differences will go to conference committee on Tuesday. Following the conference, both the House and Senate are expected to approve the revised budget. Governor Ivey is then expected the sign the largest EFT in a decade. The only sticking point in the budget could be additional funding for Alabama State University that was added by the Senate.
Bills of Interest to the Concrete Industry
Senate Bill 311 by Jabo Waggoner that would earmark a 3% auto rental tax in Jefferson County to fund a new stadium passed the House last week. The stadium would be the new home for UAB Football and also be utilized for other events and concerts. The legislation passed with an odd roll call of 14 yea and 3 neas and 45 abstains. SB 311 received a great deal of pushback from some members of the Jefferson County delegation based on their fear the city will now abandon Legion Field and the neighborhood surrounding the stadium. SB 311 awaits the Governor’s signature.
Remaining Issues to Be Tackled
The two largest remaining issues to be addressed this week by the Legislature is a bill to clarify whether an economic developer must register as a lobbyist and legislation that would require police departments to keep race records on all stops. Both have been prominently featured on the opinion pages of the state’s newspapers and are anticipated to bring the legislature to a halt this week.
The legislature reconvenes on Tuesday, March 27th, 2018. For any questions, please contact our office.