Legislative Session Update: What Happened Last Week During Week 7 and a Look at What’s Ahead for Week 8

The Legislature returned from Spring Break on Tuesday, April 4th and met for two days last week, marking the 14th and 15th legislative days. Half of the Legislative Session is over, and only 15 legislative days remain. Major proposals that still must be considered by May 22 include prison reform and the state’s two budgets. On Tuesday, April 11, the House will convene at 4:30pm and the Senate will convene at 2:00pm. The Legislature is expected to meet for two days this week. 

The Education Trust Fund

The Senate passed the Education Trust Fund Budget with a vote of 22-0 last week.  The Senate version of the budget would appropriate $6.4 billion in spending for the 2018 fiscal year, a $90 million or 1.4% increase in spending since last year. The Senate rejected an amendment by Sen. Paul Bussman (R-Cullman) that would transfer $20 million from colleges and universities to fund K-12. The Education Trust Fund now goes to the House for consideration.

Judicial Override Bill

The Judicial Override Bill passed the House last week and goes to the Governor for approval. If signed into law, the legislation would prevent judges from issuing the death penalty when a jury has recommended life incarnation as a sentence. The House passed the bill with a vote of 78-19.  The Senate passed the bill last month. Alabama will be the last state to eliminate judicial override if  Bentley signs the bill into law.

State Income Tax Bill

The House approved a bill last week that would create a simplified state income tax form. This bill would also allow certain filers who do not claim deductions to receive a tax cut. The new, optional form would be available to state residents who earn less than $100,000 a year and who do not claim non-wage income. The bill now goes to the House.

The General Fund Budget 

There was no action on the House version of the General Fund Budget that passed before Spring Break. The Budget has been assigned to the Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee where it is still pending committee action.