State Government

Arise legislative update: Alabama House panel debates, takes no action on bill to send death penalty appeals straight to state Supreme Court

A House committee heard testimony but did not vote Wednesday on a bill that would create an "express lane" for executions in Alabama. The plan would send death penalty appeals directly to the state Supreme Court, bypassing the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals. Chief Justice Roy Moore and many other criminal justice stakeholders testified against the bill. This legislative update highlights their reasons for opposition and the proposal's future prospects.

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

Arise legislative update: Alabama House committee makes few changes to General Fund budget

Medicaid and mental health services would receive flat funding next year under a General Fund (GF) budget that cleared a House committee Wednesday, while courts and prisons would get increases. ALL Kids and prisons would get less GF money than under the Senate's budget, while courts and cancer research would get more. This legislative update highlights the provisions of the House committee's budget.

Read ACPP policy analyst Chris Sanders' legislative update here.

Arise legislative update: Alabama Senate panel OKs higher sales tax to pay for grocery tax repeal

Alabama would end the state sales tax on groceries and increase the sales tax on everything else over the next four years under a bill that a Senate committee approved Wednesday. The plan simply would replace one regressive tax with another and would be little help for low-income people, Arise state coordinator Kimble Forrister told lawmakers in testimony against the bill. This legislative update highlights the bill's provisions and examines Arise's preferred grocery tax approach.

Read ACPP policy analyst Chris Sanders' legislative update here.

Arise legislative update: Bills expanding Medicaid managed care pilot projects clear Alabama House, Senate committees

Twin bills redesigning the Medicaid health care delivery system for the neediest Alabamians cleared House and Senate committees Wednesday. The bills shift Medicaid from a traditional fee-for-service system to a Medicaid-designed managed care system of regional care providers. This legislative update highlights the bills' provisions and prospects.

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

Arise legislative update: Lawmakers OK bills to extend higher court fees, restore property tax break for disabled Alabamians

Disabled Alabama homeowners would receive a full homestead exemption, regardless of their income, under a bill that the House passed 101-0 Thursday. Also this week, the Senate voted 27-3 Wednesday to make last year's court fee increases permanent. This legislative update highlights lawmakers' action on those bills and a House committee's approval of a plan to redirect some money from the Children First Trust Fund to the General Fund.

Read ACPP policy analyst Chris Sanders' legislative update here.

Arise legislative update: Alabama House approves education budget with money for private school tuition subsidies, K-12 teacher pay raises

The Alabama House voted 84-16 Wednesday for an education budget that would provide slight funding increases for K-12 and higher education next year. The $5.7 billion budget also would fund 2 percent pay raises for K-12 teachers and support staff and set aside up to $66 million for income tax credits that could subsidize private school tuition for some students. This legislative update highlights the House budget's implications for education in Alabama.

Read ACPP policy analyst Chris Sanders' legislative update here.

Arise legislative update: Predatory lending bills sent to Alabama House subcommittee, likely dead for 2013 regular session

An Alabama House committee referred three predatory lending bills to a subcommittee Wednesday morning, likely signaling their demise in the 2013 regular session. The move was a disappointing anticlimax to an extended public hearing that featured a broad coalition of advocates pushing for the bills. This legislative update highlights that hearing, the committee's decision and the remaining prospects for reform this year.

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

Arise legislative update: Alabama House to vote Wednesday on education budget with slight increases for K-12, higher education

K-12 and higher education in Alabama would receive slightly more state funding next year under an Education Trust Fund budget that the House's education budget committee approved 9-3 Tuesday, but the increases would not come close to reversing Alabama's enormous education cuts since 2008. The full House will consider the budget Wednesday. This legislative update highlights some of the budget's major provisions.

Read ACPP policy analyst Chris Sanders' legislative update here.

Arise legislative update: New Medicaid structure must include quality care, be financially sound, advocates tell Alabama Senate committee

Alabama's Medicaid reform efforts must use public funds wisely and provide quality health care for the state's neediest citizens, State Health Officer Don Williamson said Wednesday. Arise communications director Jim Carnes and other advocates testified before the Senate Health Committee to call for greater consumer involvement at every level of Alabama's proposed new Medicaid structure. This legislative update highlights some of the key testimony that the committee heard.

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

Arise legislative update: Committees OK full homestead exemption for disabled Alabamians, tax break for 'dormant' businesses

All disabled Alabamians would enjoy a full exemption from state and local property taxes under a bill that a House committee approved Wednesday. A Senate committee also signed off on a measure to exempt "dormant" businesses from Alabama's business privilege tax. This legislative update highlights committee action on those two proposals.

Read ACPP policy analyst Chris Sanders' legislative update here.

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