At the State House this Week
As the Policy Director for Conservation Alabama, Jeff Martin learns about State House issues firsthand. Check back here at the end of each week for his commentary on what’ s going on in Montgomery.
It was a big week for quarry legislation in the Alabama legislature. House Bill 804 sponsored by Rep. Jeff McLaughlin had a public hearing in the House Committee on County & Municipal Government on Wednesday. *Update – House Bill 804 was reported favorably out of committee!
Four local quarry bills for Limestone County sponsored by Sen. Tom Butler passed the Senate this week and have been assigned to the House Committee on Local Legislation. The bills would prohibit quarries from establishing within certain distances of schools, TVA, etc…
*Update – Senate Bills 594-597 have been reported out of the House Committee and are in position to pass!
Senate Bill 462 by Sen. Rodger Bedford has passed and been enacted into law. The local bill would prohibit the use of human waste bio-solids for fertilization in Franklin County.
In other legislative news:
Next Tuesday is the last day a Senate bill can be transmitted to the House without unanimous consent, meaning any one Senator can prevent transmittal and in effect kill the bill. The budget isolation resolution vote (60% needed) will remain until at least next Wednesday because the Senate has yet to take up the General Fund, therefore taking gambling legislation, including local gaming bills, off the table for the rest of the legislative session.
The House plans to make one more run at trying to remove the sales tax from groceries. The bill will be brought up again on Tuesday after Democrats failed on three previous occasions to have enough votes to get the measure onto the floor for debate.
The bill would remove the state’s 4 percent sales tax on food by replacing the revenue with a measure that would not allow wealthier Alabamians to deduct the federal income tax they pay from their state income tax. Not one Republican has voted for bringing the bill up for debate during the previous three attempts. Speaker Seth Hammett said the leadership has told him none of the Republicans plan to vote for the bill.
The legislature has five meeting days left. Next week they will meet three days Tuesday – Thursday and return for the final two days on Thursday May 14th and Friday May 15th to conclude the 2009 regular legislative session, three days early.