Highlights from Week 12 of the Legislative Session and a Look at What’s Ahead for Week 13
May 15, 2017
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.