April 30, 2015
Legislative Days 17-18
The Alabama Legislature met this week for the 17th and 18th legislative days, leaving only 12 legislative days in the session. At this point, we have yet to see a General Fund or Education Trust Fund budget pass both chambers. The Education Trust Fund has passed the Senate and may be heard in the House Ways and Means Education committee next week.
The House is scheduled to reconvene Tuesday, May 5 at 2:00pm and the Senate is set to reconvene that same day at 1:00pm.
House Committee Passes Water Works Bill, Falls Into Filibuster
The House Commerce and Small Business Committee this week held a public hearing on SB89 by Senator Jabo Waggoner aimed at altering the Birmingham Water Works Board. The committee meeting lasted several hours on Wednesday afternoon and on Thursday morning the committee met again and passed the bill out of committee. On Thursday the House was working off of a non-controversial calendar but quickly fell into a filibuster with news of the committees actions on SB89. With Democrats continuing to filibuster the calendar, the House abruptly adjourned Thursday morning just after 11:00am.
Earlier in the week the Alabama Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Alabama State Banking Department allowing them to set up a statewide database of pay day lending companies that would enable the enforcement of a $500 cap on pay day lending loans by any one individual. That decision prompted Representative Patricia Todd to withdraw HB417 which would have established the statewide database.
Senate Completes Sunset Bills, Leadership Considers Lottery And Gambling
The Senate spent most of the day Tuesday passing the remainder of the sunset bills, which are bills that require regular review by the legislature to continue authorization.
With the looming budget shortfall for fiscal year 2016 approaching, Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh released a report conducted by the Institute for Accountability and Government Efficiency at Auburn University Montgomery detailing the economic impact of a statewide lottery and casino gambling in Alabama. According to the study, an Alabama lottery would generate $332 million annually for state programs, while casino gaming, which would allow Class III gaming like table games and slot machines, would generate an additional $74 million.
With the release of this report, Senator Marsh said he planned to introduce legislation allowing for a constitutional amendment to authorize a lottery as well as legislation to authorize the governor to enter into a compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. Later in the week, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians eluded to their desire to have exclusive rights to casino gambling in the state which would include helping the state fill the budget shortfall this year.