The finish line is here

Thursday, the Alabama State Legislature is expected to cross the finish line of its annual 30-day legislative session.

The biggest bill with environmental implications is the oft-discussed $1 billion for roads bill. Last week, the House debated the bill for more than five hours, finally passing the legislation at about 10:30 p.m. The bill was passed with several amendments, including one to provide some funding for the state docks. However, the Senate rejected the changes to the bill.

The bill goes to a conference committee made up of House and Senate members. If a compromise can be reached, then the constitutional amendment will be on the ballot in November. There are no expected changes to the bill to ensure that some funding will go towards transit.

Last week, several bills were still awaiting word from Governor Bob Riley on their fate. The Alabama Trails Commission bill and several energy bills needed the governor’s signature to become law. All other environmental legislation that Conservation Alabama has been tracking this session has run out of time to pass going into the final week of the session.

In other environmental news, the Environmental Management Commission voted 4-0 to appoint Mobile businessman Lance LeFleur as director of ADEM. While the position is not a political appointment, Governor Riley made his support of LeFleur known and quickly issued a press release following his hiring. State law requires the governor to appoint the Commission, with Senate confirmation, and then the Commission appoints the director.

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