State Government

Commission to send watered-down constitutional revisions to Alabama Legislature

Due process rights and a judicially enforceable right to public education would not be included in the Alabama Constitution under the proposed new articles approved Thursday by the Alabama Constitutional Revision Commission. The commission did endorse adding equal protection language to the constitution, but explicitly declined to extend those safeguards to gay Alabamians. The state would have to maintain public schools, but lawsuits over that language would be forbidden.

The proposals would have to win lawmakers' approval and pass in a statewide vote next year before officially becoming part of the constitution. This legislative update recaps the commission's debate and decisions on these weighty issues.

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

Arise legislative update: Legislature OKs historic preservation credits; House approves bill to restore tax break for disabled Alabamians

A bill to create state income tax credits for preserving historic buildings in Alabama went to Gov. Robert Bentley after legislators passed it Thursday. The House also voted for a bill that would restore a full homestead exemption for all disabled Alabamians, regardless of their incomes. This legislative update highlights those issues and others that still remain as the Legislature approaches the final day of the 2013 regular session.

Read ACPP policy analyst Chris Sanders' legislative update here.

Arise legislative update: Courts warn of job cuts as Alabama Legislature approves tight General Fund budget propped up with one-time money

About 150 court employees could be laid off next year under a General Fund budget that sailed through the Alabama Legislature on Thursday. The $1.75 billion budget, which would provide flat funding for Medicaid and mental health services, would rely on nearly $200 million of one-time money. This legislative update highlights the budget's key provisions and implications.

Read ACPP policy analyst Chris Sanders' legislative update here.

Arise legislative update: Legislature passes Accountability Act changes to increase corporation donation value, revise 'failing school' definition

Alabama lawmakers gave swift approval Thursday to a bill that would redefine "failing schools" and boost the tax savings for corporations that donate to scholarship funds under the Alabama Accountability Act. The changes to the law, which will subsidize private school tuition for some K-12 students, cleared the House and Senate in hours after supporters quickly shut down debate. This legislative update highlights the bill's numerous provisions and the tenor of the brief debate over it.

Read ACPP policy analyst Chris Sanders' legislative update here.

Arise legislative update: Governor to decide on education budget with 2% teacher raise, money to help subsidize private school tuition

An Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget that would give K-12 teachers and support staff a 2 percent pay increase next year will go to Gov. Robert Bentley after the House approved it 70-26 Thursday. The budget would boost funding for pre-K and Advanced Placement courses but slash support for the Alabama Reading Initiative. It also would set aside $40 million for tax credits that could subsidize private school tuition for some K-12 students. This legislative update highlights the provisions of next year's ETF budget.

Read ACPP policy analyst Chris Sanders' legislative update here.

Arise legislative update: Alabama Senate OKs education budget with 2% teacher raise

K-12 teachers and support staff would receive a 2 percent pay raise next year under an Education Trust Fund budget that the Alabama Senate passed Tuesday night. The $5.77 billion budget would boost support for pre-K and Advanced Placement courses but cut funding for the Alabama Reading Initiative. It also would set aside up to $40 million for tax credits that could subsidize private school tuition for some students. This legislative update highlights the budget's provisions and recaps the Senate debate over it.

Read ACPP policy analyst Chris Sanders' legislative update here.

Arise legislative update: Medicaid reform bill passes Legislature, heads to governor

A bill to provide Medicaid services in Alabama through a network of regional care organizations (RCOs) sailed through the House on Tuesday and will go to Gov. Robert Bentley. Alabama Arise and the Disabilities Leadership Coalition of Alabama will recommend representatives to the governing board and citizens' advisory committee of each RCO under the measure. This legislative update highlights how the bill could cut Medicaid costs and improve patient outcomes.

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

Arise legislative update: Accountability Act change headed to Alabama Senate; permanent court fee increases going to governor

Schools would not be forced to accept transfer students from "failing schools" if a proposed change to the Alabama Accountability Act becomes law. A Senate committee approved the bill Tuesday but declined to make broader changes to the law that will subsidize private school tuition for some K-12 students. Meanwhile, the House voted Tuesday to send to Gov. Robert Bentley a bill to make last year's court fee increases permanent. This legislative update highlights lawmakers' action on both issues.

Read ACPP policy analyst Chris Sanders' legislative update here.

Arise legislative update: Payday loan reform bill dead after Alabama Senate inaction

The Alabama Senate met for nearly 12 hours Tuesday, but it did not find the time to consider a payday lending reform bill. With so little time left in the session, the Senate's inaction effectively killed predatory lending reform efforts for the year. This legislative update highlights what happened this year to bills to rein in payday and auto title loans and examines the proposals' future prospects.

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

Arise legislative update: Medicaid reform bill wins strong support in Alabama Senate; House vote could come next week

The Alabama Senate voted 27-3 Thursday for a bill that would deliver Medicaid services through a series of regional care organizations (RCOs). Alabama Arise would play a role in recommending consumer representatives for RCO boards under the bill, which could win House approval as soon as next week. This legislative update highlights what the bill would mean for the future of Medicaid in Alabama.

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

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