April 28, 2016
The Alabama Legislature met for three legislative days in Montgomery this week. The House will reconvene on Tuesday May 3rd at 1:00pm and the Senate will reconvene the same day at 1:00pm.
Next week will be the last week of the 2016 Regular Legislative Session. The legislature will meet for two legislative days, ending the 2016 Regular Legislative Session on Wednesday May 4th.
House Passes Prison Bond Issue, BP Settlement Bill
This week the Alabama House spent several hours debating SB287 by Senator Pittman, the $800 million prison bond issue, a legislative priority for Governor Robert Bentley. Many members of the legislature voiced their concerns over the legislations lack of transparency and uncertainty regarding where and who would build the four new facilities. After several hours of filibuster the bill passed 52-23 and must now be concurred with by the Senate. The senate had adjourned before its House passage and was not able to concur with the changes made in the House. The Senate could take up the legislation as early as Tuesday.
The legislature also spent hours debating a bill surrounding the BP settlement funds. The bill had been stalled earlier in the session, but after a compromise was reached with legislators from south Alabama the bill was placed on a special order calendar. HB569 by Representative Steve Clouse would provide $161 million repayment to the Rainy Day Fund, $287 million to the Oil & Gas Trust Fund, and approximately $191 will be allocated to Mobile & Baldwin Counties for road and bridge projects. Disagreements on the legislation surrounded the lack of money being spent in areas other than Baldwin and Mobile Counties and legislators from the northern part of the state wanting funds spent in their districts. The House adopted a substitute version of the bill that freed up $70 million for the Alabama Medicaid Agency which is facing a large budget shortfall. The substitute bill was ultimately passed 82-12.
Medicaid Future Uncertain
The status of a fix for Medicaid seem bleak, and the governor has said that the Alabama Medicaid Agency may have to rely on cuts. A special session is possible, but if and when the governor would call the legislature back is uncertain.