State Government

Examining Alabama's lifetime SNAP and TANF bans for people with felony drug convictions

How long should former drug felons who have completed their prison term continue to pay for their crime? Alabama is one of 10 states that still impose a lifetime ban on receipt of SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) benefits for anyone who has ever had a felony drug conviction, and one of 12 states with a similar ban on receipt of TANF (formerly known as welfare) benefits. The bans include no exceptions for people who have completed their sentences, complied with their probation terms, paid all their fines and penalties, and overcome their addictions.

This issue brief examines how many Alabamians may be affected by this lifetime ban and the potential financial and social effects of keeping it in place.

Montgomery joins growing list of Alabama cities with moratoriums on new licenses for payday, title lenders

Alabama's capital and second-largest city Tuesday joined a growing group of cities clamping down on the proliferation of payday and title lending storefronts. The Montgomery City Council voted 5-3 for a 90-day moratorium on issuing new business licenses to such operations. The moratorium does not affect current operations.

Montgomery joins a list of other state cities that have passed or renewed temporary restrictions on licenses for new payday or title lenders since 2011, including Birmingham, Center Point, Decatur, Eufaula, Irondale and Trussville. This news update examines the Montgomery council decision and what may come next.

Read ACPP policy analyst Stephen Stetson's news update here.

Legislative update -- Hearing highlights proposed ETF budget's school tax credits, teacher pay raise

Up to $70.5 million of Education Trust Fund (ETF) money could help subsidize private school tuition for some K-12 students next year under a proposed ETF budget that the House's education budget committee will consider this week. The committee held a public hearing on the $5.8 billion budget plan Tuesday morning and is expected to vote on it Wednesday afternoon.

Read more about the hearing here.

Arise legislative update: Advocates assemble at State House to support interest rate caps for payday, title loans

A large coalition gathered Thursday at the State House in Montgomery to urge legislators to pass legislation limiting high-interest lending in Alabama, notably payday and auto title loans. The Alliance for Responsible Lending in Alabama made its debut, and several presenters spoke eloquently on the harms of predatory lending. This legislative update highlights the various proposals to rein in payday and title loans in Alabama.

Read ACPP policy analyst Stephen Stetson's legislative update here.

Arise legislative update: Committees OK military payday loan rate cap, TANF drug tests

Alabama would enforce a federal interest rate cap on payday loans to military families if a bill approved by a Senate committee Wednesday becomes law. Senate committees also signed off on a proposal to require drug tests for certain TANF applicants, a plan to sell bonds to buy K-12 career tech equipment, and a bill to increase the state income tax credit for rural doctors. This legislative update highlights committee action and debate on those measures.

Read ACPP policy analyst Chris Sanders' legislative update here.

Arise legislative update: Medicaid committee chairmen unveil report, but no bills yet

The Joint Legislative Committee on Medicaid Policy released a report on Medicaid reform Wednesday, but it did not unveil any legislation. This legislative update highlights the committee's four proposed goals for changing Medicaid in Alabama.

Read ACPP health policy analyst M.J. Ellington's legislative update here.

Arise legislative update: Needs of Medicaid, other human services are outpacing General Fund support

Alabama's health and human services likely can find enough budget cuts and one-time money to hobble through next year, but 2015 could be bleak without substantial funding increases, state officials said Wednesday during General Fund budget hearings in Montgomery. This legislative update highlights the FY 2014 budget needs of Medicaid, DHR, mental health and public health.

Read ACPP policy analyst Chris Sanders' legislative update here.

What Alabama's immigration law looks like after HB 658

Despite Gov. Robert Bentley's stated desire for further changes to Alabama's 2011 immigration law, he abandoned efforts on Friday to achieve those changes in the current special session and signed into law minor revisions passed during the 2012 regular session. What does this mean?

Read legislative update here.

No action yet on immigration law changes in special session; use tax transfer advances

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday declined to vote on SB 28, a legislative vehicle for proposed revisions to Alabama's immigration law. The decision came after the sponsor, Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, asked the committee not to consider the bill. The House version -- HB 20, sponsored by Rep. Mickey Hammon, R-Decatur -- originally was on the agenda for a Friday morning committee meeting, but it was removed Thursday night.

Read legislative update here.

Medicaid, prison funding hinges on public vote under Alabama Legislature's General Fund budget

Medicaid, prisons and other public services would risk massive funding shortfalls next year if Alabama voters reject a proposed constitutional amendment, under a General Fund (GF) budget that the state Legislature passed late Wednesday night. The House voted 77-28 for the spending plan, while the Senate approved it 29-6.

Read budget update here.

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