Legislative Update: 3.8.2019
The 2019 Alabama Legislative Session began on Tuesday with many new faces in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The first day of the session both chambers spent the day introducing bills and assigning bills to committees.
On Tuesday evening, Governor Kay Ivey gave an ambitious State of the State address to the people of Alabama. She called for pay raises for teachers and state employees, more money to Corrections for the hiring and training of new and existing officers, and programs that will address STEM (science and technology) needs in both K-12 and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).
After the State of the State address, the Governor called the Alabama Legislature into a Special Session. It started on Wednesday and focuses exclusively on passing critical infrastructure legislation. Calling a special session removes a major procedural hurdle called a Budget Isolation Resolution that requires a three-fifth vote. The legislation can now pass with just a majority vote.
The infrastructure legislation would increase the current state gas tax by 10 cents over the next three years. This increase in fuel taxes would increase funding for crumbling roads, bridges and the port of Mobile. It is estimated that the increase would be roughly $320 million a year once the full 10 cents is phased in. Besides the tax bill, other bills considered during the special session would improve legislative oversight of the Alabama Department of Transportation and authorize a bond issue to improve the Alabama State Docks and Mobile Bay.
On Thursday, the House’s Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure Committee approved the three-bill package on a voice vote with no opposition. Friday afternoon, after much debate on the Gas Tax bill, the infrastructure package passed the House and moves on to the Senate.
The Alabama Legislature will reconvene on Monday March 11th to continue the Special Session.
The regular session will resume March 19th.
- Gina Dearborn, Tucker Consulting (3.8.2019)