Highlights from Week 5 of the Legislative Session and a Look at What’s Ahead for Week 6
February 13, 2018
Last Tuesday, the Alabama House of Representatives gaveled in and began work at 1:30PM, while the Alabama Senate began at 2PM. Wednesday was full of committee meetings. Both houses of the Legislature continued working in a bi-partisan manner as many bills continued to move through the process. Here’s a look at last week’s highlights.
Kay Ivey Signs Bill to Provide Authority to Counties to Abate Ad Valorem Taxes
Last Wednesday, Gov. Kay Ivey signed a bill that is part of the tax abatement package for the Toyota-Mazda manufacturing plant in Huntsville.
Senate Bill 98 authorizes counties to abate ad valorem taxes for certain projects that qualify for incentives under the Alabama Jobs Act.
The bill was sponsored by State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) and State Rep. Danny Crawford (R-Limestone). It allows Limestone County to offer tax abatements as part of the Toyota-Mazda local incentives package.
Toyota-Mazda announced in January they will build a $1.6 billion manufacturing plant in Huntsville that will employ 4,000 workers.
Top Photo Courtesy of Alabama Governor’s Office
$6.6 Billion Education Budget Passes out of House Ways & Means Education Committee
The 2019 Education Trust Fund budget passed out of the House Ways & Means Education Committee last Wednesday. It would provide a 2.5 percent pay raise for education employees, boost funding for pre-kindergarten by $20 million and fund 197 more teacher units in middle school grades.
Legislators are projected to have about $6.6 billion to appropriate from the Education Trust Fund for the year, $216 million more than this year. That's the most allowed under a cap set by the Rolling Reserve Act.
The budget would fund a 2.5 percent cost of living raise for all education employees in K-12 and two-year colleges. Education employees have received 2 cost-of-living raises in the last 10 years.
The proposal would increase funding for Alabama's nationally recognized pre-k program from $77 million to $97 million. Gov. Kay Ivey had requested a $23 million increase.
The budget would also increase funding for classroom materials, technology, library enhancements, transportation and other areas.
According to House Ways & Means Education Chairman Bill Poole (R-Tuscaloosa), the budget will be debated on the House floor this Thursday.
Photo Courtesy of AL.com
What’s Ahead This Week
This week will be primarily focused on the Education Trust Fund budget in the House. House agenda bills dealing with veterans are also in position to receive full passage in the Senate this week. There are a number of Senate bills poised to receive full passage in the House this week, including SB 10, Senator Tim Melson’s (R-Florence) Home Builder Licensure Board bill, which has received a favorable report from the committee on Boards, Agencies, and Commissions.