Arise legislative update: Lawmakers OK bills to extend higher court fees, restore property tax break for disabled Alabamians
Disabled Alabama homeowners would receive a full homestead exemption, regardless of their income, under a bill that the House passed 101-0 Thursday. Also this week, the Senate voted 27-3 Wednesday to make last year's court fee increases permanent. This legislative update highlights lawmakers' action on those bills and a House committee's approval of a plan to redirect some money from the Children First Trust Fund to the General Fund.
Arise legislative update: Alabama House approves education budget with money for private school tuition subsidies, K-12 teacher pay raises
The Alabama House voted 84-16 Wednesday for an education budget that would provide slight funding increases for K-12 and higher education next year. The $5.7 billion budget also would fund 2 percent pay raises for K-12 teachers and support staff and set aside up to $66 million for income tax credits that could subsidize private school tuition for some students. This legislative update highlights the House budget's implications for education in Alabama.
Arise legislative update: Predatory lending bills sent to Alabama House subcommittee, likely dead for 2013 regular session
An Alabama House committee referred three predatory lending bills to a subcommittee Wednesday morning, likely signaling their demise in the 2013 regular session. The move was a disappointing anticlimax to an extended public hearing that featured a broad coalition of advocates pushing for the bills. This legislative update highlights that hearing, the committee's decision and the remaining prospects for reform this year.
Arise legislative update: Alabama House to vote Wednesday on education budget with slight increases for K-12, higher education
K-12 and higher education in Alabama would receive slightly more state funding next year under an Education Trust Fund budget that the House's education budget committee approved 9-3 Tuesday, but the increases would not come close to reversing Alabama's enormous education cuts since 2008. The full House will consider the budget Wednesday. This legislative update highlights some of the budget's major provisions.
Arise legislative update: New Medicaid structure must include quality care, be financially sound, advocates tell Alabama Senate committee
Alabama's Medicaid reform efforts must use public funds wisely and provide quality health care for the state's neediest citizens, State Health Officer Don Williamson said Wednesday. Arise communications director Jim Carnes and other advocates testified before the Senate Health Committee to call for greater consumer involvement at every level of Alabama's proposed new Medicaid structure. This legislative update highlights some of the key testimony that the committee heard.
Arise legislative update: Committees OK full homestead exemption for disabled Alabamians, tax break for 'dormant' businesses
All disabled Alabamians would enjoy a full exemption from state and local property taxes under a bill that a House committee approved Wednesday. A Senate committee also signed off on a measure to exempt "dormant" businesses from Alabama's business privilege tax. This legislative update highlights committee action on those two proposals.
Arise legislative update: Alabama Senate panel OKs plan to repay Alabama Trust Fund using BP oil spill settlement money
Any settlement funds that Alabama receives as a result of the 2010 BP oil spill would be set aside to repay the Alabama Trust Fund for recent transfers to the General Fund and its rainy day fund under a bill that a Senate committee approved Wednesday. This legislative update highlights that measure, as well as committee action on bills related to court fees and sales tax exemptions for medical supplies.
Arise legislative update: Medicaid reform bills advance in Alabama House committee
General Fund support for Alabama's Medicaid program would be capped for a decade starting in FY 2017 if a bill that a House committee approved Wednesday becomes law. The measure would not apply to state revenues outside the General Fund and would not forbid spending increases because of enrollment growth, lower provider assessments, unfunded federal mandates or changes to the federal Medicaid matching rate. This legislative update highlights this proposal and others that cleared a House committee this week.
Arise legislative update: Alabama's death penalty system plagued by inexperienced counsel, racial disparities, advocates tell Senate panel
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony on a slate of five death penalty reform bills Wednesday. The bills ranged from suggesting that Alabama reconsider how it applies capital punishment to abolishing it altogether. This legislative update highlights those proposals and advocates' testimony surrounding them.
Arise legislative update: Industry-backed title loan bill clears House committee
Over the objections of a large and vocal coalition, the House Financial Services Committee voted Wednesday to approve an industry-backed title loan bill that makes only minor changes to auto title lending practices in Alabama. Arise and other advocates testified against the bill, which makes no reforms to the triple-digit interest rates on title loans. This legislative update highlights the committee action on the measure.