March 25, 2016
The Alabama Legislature met for two legislative days in Montgomery this week. The House will reconvene on Tuesday April 5th at 1:00pm and the Senate will reconvene the same day at 2:00pm
As a reminder, the Alabama Legislature will take off the week of March 28th for Spring Break.
Legislature Gives Final Approval To General Fund Budget, Governor Plans Veto
This week the Alabama Senate passed the General Fund Budget, which has now been sent to Governor Robert Bentley. The Senate voted to concur with the budget passed last week by the House of Representatives. The $1.85 billion budget includes an $700 million appropriation for the state’s Medicaid Agency, which is $85 million short of the governor’s request.
Although the governor has said he would veto any budget that did not fully fund the Medicaid Agency and implementation of RCO’s, the legislature can override a veto by the governor with a simple majority vote of both chambers. A move that is increasingly likely given that legislative leadership has said there is no appetite for new revenue. The governor this week did say that a statewide lottery may be the only way to fund the state’s growing Medicaid program.
The Senate this week also delayed a plan to build four new prisons using an $800 million bond issue. Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh moved to carry the bill over after some Democratic Senators indicated they had concerns over the legislation. The plan is one of Governor Robert Bentley’s top legislative priorities this session.
Electronic Bingo Bills Approved By House And Senate Committees
The two bills, sponsored by Rep. A.J. McCampbell and Sen. Billy Beasley would clarify that Greenetrack in Greene County and VictoryLand in Macon County would be able to operate electronic bingo machines. The Greenetrack bill, a constitutional amendment, would also create a gaming commission to regulate gambling in the county, and provide for distribution of Greenetrack revenues. Supporters of both bills said they wanted to protect industries in areas that have difficulties attracting jobs. McCampbell told the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee Wednesday morning that he also wanted to codify Gov. Robert Bentley’s policy, announced last year, of leaving gambling enforcement to local authorities.