2016 Legislative Update - Week 1
The Alabama Legislature began its 2016 regular session on Tuesday, highlighted by Governor Robert Bentley’s State of the State Address. In his State of the State Address Governor Bentley called for a COLA for state employees and the building of four mega prisons to address the prison overcrowding issue.
On Wednesday Governor Bentley introduced his 2016 General Fund budget, SB 125/ HB 104, sponsored by Senator Trip Pittman and Representative Steve Clouse. As introduced, the Governor’s General Fund budget provides for a funded 2% COLA for state employees, level funding for state employee’s health insurance and funding for the Employees Retirement System (ERS) at requested actuarial levels. The General Fund budget level funds most state agencies while providing increases to Medicaid, DHR, Corrections, Pardon & Paroles and the Courts. Funding for the General Fund budget is based on General Fund revenues plus a one-time transfer of $181 million from the Education Trust Fund. Debate of the General Fund budget will begin in the Senate.
In the first two days of the 2016 regular session of the Alabama Legislature, 269 bills were introduced. Below are bills that ASEA is closely monitoring:
HB 13, sponsored by Representative Alan Harper, was assigned to the Economic Development and Tourism Committee. SB 19, sponsored by Senator Jim McClendon, was assigned to Tourism and Marketing Committee. Both bills are Constitutional Amendments that would allow a vote on whether the State of Alabama will authorize a lottery. HB 10, sponsored by Representative Craig Ford, would provide for a lottery with proceeds going to a college scholarship fund. HB 10 was assigned to the Economic Development and Tourism Committee.
HB 31, sponsored by Representative Matt Fridy, was assigned to the State Government Committee. HB 31 would cut mileage reimbursement by 25% when state employees are required to use their personal vehicles in their state jobs. ASEA has asked for a public hearing on this legislation.
HB 79, sponsored by Representative Chris Pringle, was assigned to the Judiciary Committee. HB 79 would make it a crime for the driver of a motor vehicle to endanger the life of a highway worker in a construction zone.
HB 63, HB 64, HB 90, HB 91 and HB 92, all sponsored by Representative Lynn Greer, were assigned to the Ways and Means Education Committee. These bills would subject deferred contribution and/or deferred benefits plan payments to state taxation at various levels.
HB 5 and HB 17, sponsored by Representative Mike Hill, were assigned to the State Government Committee. These bills would require state employees to be automatically enrolled in the state’s deferred compensation plan. Both bills allow for the employee to opt out of said enrollment.
SB 15, sponsored by Senator Cam Ward, was assigned to the Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee. SB 15 would un-earmark state monies that were not originally earmarked by Constitutional Amendment.
SB 87, sponsored by Senator Arthur Orr, a Constitutional Amendment, was assigned to the Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee. SB 87 would permit state parks with sleeping facilities and/or golf courses to be privatized.
SB 130, sponsored by Senator Paul Sanford, was assigned to the Finance and Taxation Education Committee. SB 130 would provide for the distribution of use tax funds to the General Fund.
SB 136, sponsored by Senator Vivian Davis Figures and others, was assigned to the Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee. SB 136 would increase the tax on property by 5 mils earmarking such funds to Medicaid.