BIRMINGHAM, Alabama: On February 7 the Alabama Legislature convenes its 2012 legislative session.
According to State Senator Slade Blackwell (R), there are several topics that will be major issues in the upcoming session.
- Prison overcrowding: Alabama's prison system is 193 percent overcrowded, which is the highest in the nation. Blackwell said the current system must be changed.
- Charter schools: Alabama is one of a handful of states that do not allow charter schools. Blackwell said he would like to change that.
- Economic development and jobs: One early bill that was prefiled would streamline Alabama's tax assessment process. The bill would abolish one division within the Department of Revenue and create a new commission -- the Alabama Tax Appeals Commission.
The session will last until sometime in mid-May. The legislative guidelines allow for a session of 30 legislative days in 105 calendar days.