The finish line is here

This week, the Alabama State Legislature will wrap up its 2012 regular session.

It’s unclear whether the legislators will be able to adopt the budgets before the session ends. Additionally, special sessions for redistricting and possibly the Jefferson County financial crisis are looming. The finish line for the regular session may be here, but we haven’t seen the last of the legislature in 2012.

Some environmental bills remain in play on the final day.

A bill that would require centralized waste treatment facilities to post a performance bond awaits a vote of the Senate. Rep. Ron Johnson, R-Sylacauga has been a champion of this bill after an industrial waste operation left a leaching facility to pollute Sylacauga without any means, other than public dollars, to clean it up.

A bill that would provide for tax incentives for compressed natural gas vehicles also awaits a vote of the Senate. This is one of several energy bills to be introduced this session.

A bill that would set up a transportation infrastructure bank, including funding for mass transit, has been waiting for a vote of the House for two months. Wednesday will be the bill’s final chance.

Several other bills are on the Governor’s desk for signature. One bill would extend the moratorium on new landfills for an additional year. Another provides for the coordination and development of farm-to-school programs to make sure more locally grown produce gets to Alabama’s schools. Incentives for irrigation on Alabama farmland awaits the governor’s signature. And a bill that would establish an energy and fuel research and grant program at the Department of Agriculture and Industries also is on the governor’s desk.

Next week, we’ll give a comprehensive review of environmental bills this session as we wrap up the 2012 Regular Session and prepare for potential special session(s).

You can follow legislation related to the environment each week on Conservation Alabama’s Hot List at conservationalabama.org.

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