Home Stretch – Will Forever Wild Remain Safe?
We made it through another week on Goat Hill without a vote on HB 502. This bill proposes a constitutional amendment that would require the Forever Wild Land Trust to pay lost ad valorem (property) taxes on lands purchased through the program. HB 502 was on the special calendar last night, but a vote never happened. Instead, House members gave final approval on a $1.8 million General Fund Budget, which now goes to Governor Ivey.
Next up in the House was a controversial Historic Monuments Bill, which would prevent cities from removing historic monuments, including those commemorating the Confederacy. After a heated debate, the bill was approved 72-29. However, an amendment on the floor now sends this bill back to the Senate for approval.
With just four days left in this legislative session, it’s now a race against time to pass remaining pieces of legislation. If HB 502 is voted on in the House next week, it must then go to the Senate for approval. If passed by both the House and Senate, HB 502 would next go to voters. In 2012, Alabama’s Forever Wild Land Trust program was renewed for another 20 years by an overwhelming majority – 75% of the vote. Because HB 502 proposes a constitutional amendment, it cannot be vetoed by the governor.
Almost 9,000 messages have been sent to elected officials this session demanding protection of Forever Wild. It’s not too late for your voice to be heard. Contact your legislators today and tell them to Vote NO on HB 502.
The legislature has until May 22nd to finish the session, however the Senate and House plan to meet three or four days next week and adjourn either Thursday or Friday, bringing a close to the 2017 regular legislative session.