Capitol News & Notes
Capitol News & Notes Week 13
HB 345, sponsored by Representative Victor Gaston (R-Mobile) and 88 co-sponsors, passed the Senate Tuesday of last week just before 5:00pm unanimously with a vote of 31-0.
Senator Jabo Waggoner (R-Vestavia), who sponsored the Senate companion bill, introduced HB 345 on the Senate floor as the long awaited Historic Tax Credit Bill. Senator Waggoner offered the same substitute version of the bill that passed the Senate Committee on Finance, Taxation and Education two weeks ago. Waggoner explained the historic tax credit received a “B” rating from a study conducted by the University of Tennessee and that out of the 35 Senators, 29 Senators sponsored the Senate companion bill.
Some Senators expressed concerns about the tax credits being spread across the State. Senator Waggoner explained those concerns are addressed in the substitute bill, which includes a provision that encourages rural communities to participate in the tax credit program. Forty percent of the tax credits will be reserved to taxpayers with a certified rehabilitation project located in a county where the population does not exceed 175,000. The rural counties would have six months to apply for the credit. In the event applications are not received, the funds would revert for allocations of other project applications.
Sen. Waggoner explained this provision levels the playing field and will help small, rural counties. Senator Waggoner made the motion for final passage. HB 345 passed the Senate unanimously.
Thank you, Alabama REALTORS® for the strong response on the Call for Action on the Historic Tax Credit Bill, HB 345! 530 of our members contacted their Senator encouraging them to vote yes on the bill.
HB 345 passed the House last month. Because the Senate passed a slightly different version of the bill, HB 345 is headed back to the House for concurrence, which is expected this week. After the House concurs, the bill will head to the Governor’s desk.
Alabama REALTORS® support HB 345. It will renew the Alabama Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit program that expired on May 15, 2016. The Historic Tax Credit helps revitalize cities and communities across Alabama. Studies show the credit has a huge economic impact and preserves historic structures in our state.
Pictured: Senators discussing the Historic Tax Credit Bill on the floor before passage last week.
Highlights from Week 12 of the Legislative Session and a Look at What’s Ahead for Week 13
May 16, 2017, 12:00am
The Legislature met for the usual two days last week, marking the 25th and 26th legislative days. The House adjourned at 11:45pm and the Senate adjourned at 2:50pm on Thursday. Only 4 legislative days remain in the Legislative Session. The legislature made progress last week and acted on major proposals that must be finalized by May 22, including the state’s two budgets and legislative redistricting.
Highlights from Last Week:
The General Fund Budget Sent to the Governor
Late Thursday evening, the House concurred with the Senate version of the General Fund Budget with a vote of 93-6. The Senate already passed the General Fund Budget two weeks ago. The budget has been sent to Governor Kay Ivey for approval. The budget would allocate $1.85 billion in spending for the 2018 fiscal year, nearly the same amount of spending as this year. The budget level funds most agencies but does include $93 million in reserves for Medicaid.
Education Trust Fund Budget
The Senate did not concur with the House version of the Education Trust Fund Budget last week. The House version of the budget has slight modifications from the Senate version that was passed by the full Senate last month. The House accepted the Senate’s request to send the Education Budget to a conference committee made up of three House members and three Senate members. The members of each body will reconcile the differences on the two versions of the budget and will send the budget to both Chambers for approval this week.
Pictured: Members of the Senate Meeting Last Week
Supplemental Appropriation Bill for Colleges and Universities
The Senate passed a supplemental appropriation bill that would allocate $15 million in spending for colleges and universities this year. The supplemental funding would allow colleges and universities to purchase education technology and equipment.
The House passed a legislative redistricting plan that would require 70 of the 105 House districts to be redrawn late Thursday night with a vote of 70-30. The Democratic Caucus members requested the bill be read at length, which took 16 hours and consumed Tuesday evening and most of Thursday. The plan now goes to the Senate.
Pictured: House Members Debate Legislative Redistricting. Photo courtesy of Dionne Whetstone, House of Representatives Photographer
On Tuesday, May 16, the House will convene at 11:30am, and the Senate will convene at 2:00pm. This week could be a three or four-day work week, and the Session could conclude this week.
Bills on the House calendar Tuesday include: a bill that would prohibit a voter from switching parties between primary elections, a bill that would further regulate the sale of over the counter eye glasses, and a bill that would require a driver’s license applicant to include an emergency contact for record purposes with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, and the Homebuilder’s Licensure Bill, which would lower the threshold for the minimum costs of a roofing project that brings it under the jurisdiction of the Home Builders Licensure Board.
This week, the Senate is expected to debate a bill that would authorize most private insurance companies to cover behavior therapy for children with autism. The bill has already passed the House and passed a Senate Committee last week. The Senate will release their Special Order Calendar on the Senate floor when they convene on Tuesday.
Bill Would Amend the Landlord Tenant Act
May 16, 2017, 12:00am
HB 457, sponsored by Representative Paul Beckman, (R-Prattville), would amend the Landlord Tenant Act. HB 457 would require judges in eviction cases to set the case for a hearing within 45 days after the time to answer the complaint. Failure to do so would be grounds for a complaint against the judge that would be filed with the Judicial Inquiry Commission with the possibility of sanctions.
HB 457 received a favorable report in the House Committee on Judiciary a couple weeks ago and is pending final passage in the House.
Alabama REALTORS® support HB 457 because it protects property owners by emphasizing the need for eviction cases to be heard quickly.
Bill Restoring Credits for Neighborhood Revitalization Projects Receives Action in the House
May 16, 2017, 12:00am
SB 229, sponsored by Trip Pittman, (R-Montrose), received a favorable report in the House Committee on Ways and Means Education last week.
Under current law, municipalities may create Neighborhood Infrastructure Authorities to collect voluntary assessments from both home and business owners to participate in neighborhood revitalization projects. Income tax credits have been available previously to homeowners and businesses for 10 percent of any assessments paid that did not exceed $1,000 in any tax year and for a period that did not exceed 10 consecutive years. The provision for new tax credits expired December 31, 2015.
SB 229 would restore the tax credits for the 2017 through 2022 tax years, unless extended by the Legislature.
SB 229 passed the House Committee on Ways and Means Education with an amendment that would require the Local Neighborhood Infrastructure Authority to provide the Department of Revenue: a copy of the articles of incorporation, proof of municipal approval of the authority and a list of the authority’s members by December 31st each year, following incorporation and municipal approval.
SB 229 has already passed the Senate and is pending passage in the House.
Alabama REALTORS® support SB 229 because of the economic development opportunities it provides to neighborhoods and communities and the benefits it provides to home and business owners.
Pictured: Sen. Pittman with a Photo of a Before and After a Neighborhood Improvement Project
The Alabama Realtors® is the largest statewide organization of real estate professionals comprised of over 14,000 members. United by adherence to a Code of Ethics, our members work as real estate professionals in the sale, lease, appraisal, management and development of residential, commercial, rural and resort properties throughout Alabama.
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