State Parks Bill Passes Senate
On Tuesday, the State Senate voted 29 to 1 to pass SB 260, which calls for a vote on a constitutional amendment to protect state parks’ funding. Sen. Paul Bussman (R-Cullman) was the lone dissenting vote. The bill now moves to the House where it must be passed before it comes to the public for a vote. The full text of the bill as adopted by the Senate can be read here.
This vote is a huge step toward protecting the funding that parks must have to stay open and accessible. Once the bill passes the House, this constitutional amendment will be on Alabama voters’ November ballot along with the presidency and other federal offices. After years of being unable to plan ahead for regular maintenance and upkeep because of the required administrative funding transfers to the General Fund, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will finally have a stable budget for state parks if this amendment is added to the state constitution.
Alabama’s budget crisis has been making headlines for more than a year now, and public support for our parks has been voiced often since the first indication they were at risk. In total more than 10,000 messages have been sent to elected officials in support of our parks, with 2,000 of those coming in the last two weeks. As Alabama voters, you spoke up to defend our parks and the legislature heard you.
Sen. Clay Scofield (R-Guntersville) deserves praise for sponsoring SB 260 and ensuring it made it successfully through the Senate. Rep. Kerry Rich (R-Albertville) will now be responsible for the bill in the House. Show your support for our parks by sending a message to our state representatives now: Vote YES on SB 260!
The legislature is currently on spring break, and will return to Montgomery on Tuesday, April 5. We are hopeful that the House will take up this bill and pass it quickly as soon as they get back to work.