Positive start for conservation in Session 2013

The first week of Session 2013 is in the books, and some progress has been made for conservation.

While the main focus in the first week was the “We Defend Our Rights” legislative package of the Republican majority, four conservation priority legislative pieces were introduced, with numerous other conservation-related bills before the legislature for consideration.

At the top of the list include: a bill that will update the qualifications for members of the Alabama Environmental Management Commission, the board that oversees the Alabama Department of Environmental Management; a bill that will establish a sales tax holiday on Energy Star appliances; a bill that would provide tax credits for restoring historic buildings – something critical for making older, more walkable communities more vibrant; and a bill that would establish a benefit corporation classification in Alabama, allowing for more companies to achieve the triple-bottom line of health for the public, economy, and environment.

Of the top priorities, Rep. Jack Williams (R-Vestavia Hills) AEMC bill moved out of committee last week and could be voted on by the full House this week. The historic tax credit bill has more than 20 co-sponsors and will see a major push this session. While the Energy Star tax holiday has been introduced several times, Rep. Greg Wren (R-Montgomery) is working hard to get it and a slate of other energy related bills passed this session. Sen. Cam Ward’s (R-Alabaster) benefit corporation bill is new this session, but similar legislation has passed across the country.

Various other bills, including energy-related legislation, land banking, and transportation funding bills have been introduced, and we’ll be tracking those and more this session.

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

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