2016 Newsletter Issue 9 April 8, 2016
From our DesK ... This week a bi-partisangroup of House members called for the resignation of Governor Robert Bentleyand presented articles of impeachment to the House if he chooses not to do so. Thisbackdrop overshadows the fact that many outstanding issues are yet to beresolved.
Hot Topics: Tumultuous Session Business Privilege Tax Historic Tax Preservation Passes Ban the Box Gas Tax Alabama/Arizona Border Patrol Payday Loans This Week in Alabama History Bama-n-Brews Polaris Production
Ten Terrible Days Remain in Tumultuous Session Some of the loomingissues are as followed: General Fundbudget: The 1.8 billion dollar General Fund budget on the Governorâ€™s desk wasvetoed this week. But, soon aftersession began Tuesday, the House and
Senate both overrode the Governorâ€™s veto. Educationbudget: The 6.28 billion dollarEducation Budget passed the House and was heard in committee this week. Itstill has to pass the Senate. PrisonConstruction: Although some asked the question if the billis tainted since it is a Bentley driven proposal, lawmakers, including Sen. ProTem Del Marsh insists that it is not the case. It has been carried over on the floor of the Senate due to lack of votesand questions over the design/build provision that does not allow for competitivebids. PrepAct: This bill lengthens the time that a teachercan achieve tenure from 3 to 5 years, requires annual evaluations with theminimum of 25 percent of a teacherâ€™s grade is based upon student growth models. Lottery: Several proposals including one that allows for casino gambling seemsto be floundering in the legislature. The Speaker has been quoted by news accounts that this may be a gamblethat lawmakers will not take up.
Business Privilege Tax Bill Introduced HB 462 by Rep. JimmyMartin introduced legislation that would revise the stateâ€™s business privilegetax which would eliminate the business tax liability for the smaller businessesand increase the maximum tax/ rates on the larger businesses. The bill isassigned to the House Ways & Means Committee and the committee has notscheduled a hearing on the bill to date.
Historic Tax Preservation and Rehab Bill Passes House
By a vote of 94-4 theHouse passed the HB62 that extends the historic preservation and rehab taxcredit. The bill was championed by the House Pro Tem, Rep. Victor Gaston fromMobile. The city of Mobile along withits economic development community and others lobbied for the initial bill foryears. Birmingham is also a huge proponent of the measure. It may face a moreharsh audience in the Senate.
Ban the Box MDG was on hand for another lengthyJudiciary meeting that debated the â€œban the boxâ€? bill that is a cornerstone ofthe Democratic legislators. The bill originally applied to both the public andprivate sector and prohibited an employer from asking arrest or convictioninformation on an application. It was substitutedin committee to apply to the public sector only. As you may recall, the City ofBirmingham has already passed a Resolution banning the box for applicants forthe City. The bill was given a favorable report on a voice vote. It received a second reading on Thursday andis eligible for final Senate passage. Most pundits believe the bill will notpass even in the watered down version.
Gas Tax This legislation is stillon the table and appears to have gained momentum due to significant changes tothe legislation. The Rules Chair did notbring the bill up for a vote this week but instead he continues to try andpersuade members including some in his own party that the tax is necessary. Theintroduced version raised the gasoline state tax from 18 to 24 cents and wouldbe the first increase since 1992. One ofthe billâ€™s most controversial components included an automatic increase basedupon the averages of our border states. Many argue that our state is not assimilarly situated as say, Georgia, or Florida where major cities and eventssuch as sports teams are located. The bill that sits up theinfrastructure where the tax would be deposited has passed the Senate and thevery bill that will be unfinished business in the House when they reconvene onTuesday. The bill for the actual tax isrumored to be headed for revisions that cut the tax to 6 cents only with noautomatic mechanism to raise the amount by an indexed tax from the borderingstates.
Payday Loans The Senate passed SB 91 which is legislation that would extend payday loan repayment periods. The repayment period would be extended to six months. Currently,
Alabamians must pay large feeds for renewing loans while unable to repay within a few short weeks. Additionally, the legislation would also require lenders to accept payment installments. The bill also caps the interest rate to about 120 percent APR.
Bentley Orders Alabama National Guard to Arizona to Assist in Border Patrol Governor Bentley announced this week he has ordered one helicopter and three pilots to Arizona to assist with U.S./Mexico border patrol. The deployed soldiers and aircraft will be in Arizona through September 2016. According to the Adjunct General of the Alabama National Guard, two-star Gen. Perry Smith said this deployment allows opportunities for training.
This Week in Alabama History Hank Aaron Hits 715th Home Run on April 8, 1974 Mobile native Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves hits his 715th career home run to break Babe Ruth's longstanding record. Aaron finished his career with 755 home runs, the best in Major League Baseball at that time.
Booker T. Washington Born April 5, 1856 Booker T. Washington, African-American educator, author and leader, is born near Hale's Ford, Virginia. Born a slave, Washington worked his way through school and in 1881 was selected to head the newly established Normal School for Colored Teachers at Tuskegee, Alabama.
He guided the development of the institution until his death in 1915.
Bama-n-Brews Alcohol bills front and center, yet again, this week at the Alabama legislature
Governor 'diStill' Needs to Sign On-Site Alcohol Consumption Bill SB 132 by Senator Singleton was delivered to the Governor on Thursday, April 7 at 10:22 a.m. and awaits signature. This legislation allows Alabama distilleries to sell one standard size bottle per customer, per day from its distillery location for off-site consumption. The House companion, HB 46 by Representative Boothe, is indefinitely postponed.
Wine Companion Is Its Spirit Animal Also delivered to Governor Bentley on Thursday, April 7 at 10:22 a.m. was SB 166 by Senator Coleman-Madison. This legislation is similar to the above and allows purchases for off-premise consumption.
Polaris on Par for Production Polaris Industries newest manufacturing plant located in Limestone County on Greenbrier Parkway is approximately 95 percent complete. It is said production is expected to begin in May. Polaris has already hired 250 people to work in the plant and expect to increase that total
doubly. The plant will manufacture Polarisâ€™ fourwheel Ranger and three-wheel Slingshot vehicles. Originally the plant was to be about 650,000 square feet. However, Polaris has added a production logistics center to handle parts from many suppliers and get them to the production line in the proper quantity and size. The plant size has now increased to 950,000 square feet.
Loaded Handguns Now Allowed in Vehicles Senator Allen's bill, SB 14, passed the Senate which allows people to carry loaded handguns in their cars without a permit. "Your vehicle is an extension of your home," Allen said. The concern from those in the law enforcement field is that traffic stops for police could be more dangerous. Additionally, sheriff departments rely on concealed carry permits to raise funds for their department.
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Legislature Reconvenes April 12, 2016 The Alabama House of Representatives reconvenes on Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at 1 p.m. The Alabama Senate reconvenes on Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at 4 p.m.
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