Alabama gears up for legislative second half
By: Stephan Burklin
Montgomery, Alabama: Lawmakers in the Alabama Legislature say that the skirmishes during the first half of the legislative season were mere preludes to the bigger battles to come. When legislators in the Yellowhammer State reconvene on April 3, they will confront a slew of bills that are certain to ignite partisan sentiments.
“We have done a lot of things, but the big stuff is yet to come, as it is in every session that I’ve ever been associated with,” Representative Kerry Rich (R) of Albertville told the Sand Mountain Reporter.
With Governor Robert Bentley (R) declaring a shortfall in the state’s General Fund, the central question will be whether to raise taxes or cut spending to close the gap. In a recent interview with the Associated Press, House Speaker Mike Hubbard (R) said that budget committees have no plans to increase taxes.
Legislators are also slated to amend the state’s anti-illegal immigration law that passed last year to the consternation of civil liberty groups, including the ACLU. Legislative leaders say the changes are intended to fortify the law’s ability to withstand challenges in court. Lawmakers will also tackle a bill that would authorize charter schools if time remains.