Legislative Update: 03.21.2022
Last week, the pace finally slowed down for a regular two-day workweek in the Alabama Legislature.
On Tuesday, the House of Representatives approved the largest General Fund Budget in the state’s history, totaling $2.7 billion. Some noteworthy aspects of the fiscal year 2023 spending plan include a 4% pay raise for state employees and a one-time bonus for retired state employees. The budget will also provide extra funds for the Department of Mental Health and the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles.
The money allocated to the Alabama Department of Mental Health will allow for the construction of community mental health centers and the implementation of crisis intervention training programs. The bill is now on the Governor’s desk waiting for her signature.
On Thursday morning, the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee voted to advance the recently introduced HB501 by Rep. Chip Brown, which would allow for lottery ticket sales. This bill does not have the gambling expansion provisions that are in a competing Senate bill by Senator Albritton. Revenue from the lottery ticket sales would support education efforts including scholarships and student loan repayment grants. Estimates that just the lottery would generate for Alabama are between $198 to $285 million per year.
The Alabama Legislature is on spring break this week and will reconvene next Tuesday for its 24th legislative day.