Sunday, May 6, 2012
ALABAMA LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - WEEK 12
The Alabama House and Senate completed their 24th, 25th, and 26th Legislative days of the 2012 Regular Session on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week.
The Alabama Senate approved the $5.479 billion Educational Trust fund budget on Tuesday, by a vote of 31-4. Included was a two percent cut to schools and a four percent cut to colleges. The budget remained nearly $151 million lower than the current 2012 Educational Trust fund budget. The budget is scheduled to be heard by the House committee on Tuesday, May 9th.
Late Wednesday night, the Alabama Senate passed a significantly amended version of the Education Options Act. The bill only allows the State's four largest cities to create charter schools. Senate Bill 513 requires that no more than 20 charters could be created statewide and only as replacements of the State’s lowest-performing schools. Additionally, the bill requires the local school district’s superintendent and every state lawmaker representing the area to approve a charter school before it can be created. The bill has now been referred to the House of Representatives committee on Ways and Means Education.
Following a day full of filibusters and tense debate, the House voted 65-29 to increase court costs across the state. This legislation would raise court costs by $25 for traffic tickets, $45 for civil cases, $40 for criminal cases and $15 for small claims court cases. If reform legislation is not passed, the Unified Judicial System could lose 500 employees to layoffs. It's estimated that the bill will raise $40 million. Representative Chris England remarked, "No one likes to deal with fee increases, but it's one of the realities if we are going to keep the courts open."
Thursday, the Senate passed House Bill 403. This bill will conform Alabama law to the current model law developed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners by specifying the persons covered by the act as well as the policies and contracts covered. The legislation now awaits the Governor's signature.
Immigration reform legislation (House Bill 658 or Senate Bill 541) is expected to be heard on the Senate floor on Wednesday, May 9th. At this time, it's unclear which bill Republican leadership will elect to focus on first. Although there was no debate this week, six private individuals were detained and released after a sit down protest near the Alabama Senate chamber. Two Senators, Bobby Singleton and Quinton Ross, joined the protest with the six individuals as they were led away by Capitol Police. Click here to see a summary of proposed amendments to Alabama’s immigration law.
2012 Regular Session resumes on Tuesday, May 8th when the Senate will reconvene at 2:00 p.m. The House of Representatives will reconvene on the same day at 1:00 p.m.
The remainder of the 2012 Regular Session is rumored to be the following: Tuesday, May 8, 27th Day; Wednesday, May 9, 28th Day; Thursday, May 10, 29th Day
Recess Regular Session; Convene Special Session to consider legislative redistricting: Monday, May 14; Tuesday, May 15; Wednesday, May 16; Thursday, May 17; Friday, May 18
Final Day of Regular Session: Monday, May 21, 30th Day
This Alert is for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship. For more information or an explanation about the matters discussed in this Alert, please contact one of the attorneys listed above.