The Alabama Statehouse is virtually empty today after members of the House and Senate ended their sometimes contentious 2013 regular session late Monday night. Lawmakers approved dozens of bills that included a sweeping change in state gun laws, authorizing bond issues to rebuild storm damaged schools and National Guard armories; passed legislation to revise the state's campaign laws and allowing school systems to hire armed guards. Legislators dealt Governor Bentley a setback by rejecting his proposal to delay private school tax credits for two years.
The Alabama House has rejected Governor Robert Bentley's proposal to delay private school tax credits for two years. The House voted 57-10 Monday to reject the governor's proposal.
The Alabama Legislature has authorized city and county school systems to hire armed security guards to protect students. The Senate voted 21-0 Monday to go along with changes the House made to a school security bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Dick Brewbaker of Montgomery.
It is shaping up to be a long day at the Alabama Statehouse. Today is the final day of the 2013 regular session. There are several key pieces of legislation awaiting consideration. It includes a bill that would allow workers to keep guns in in their vehicle while at work. On another matter, Alabama's governor isn't getting support from key Republicans or Democrats for his proposal to delay private school tax credits for two years. Democratic Senator Quinton Ross of Montgomery said the law should be repealed not delayed.
Alabama's unemployment rat has dipped to 6.9 percent. Governor Robert Bentley said the preliminary April rate is below the 7.2 percent recorded in March and the 7.4 percent measured a year ago. Bentley said the state saw two positive signs in April. The number of people employed increased and the number of people in the labor force increased.
The sponsor of Alabama's new private school tax credits said he intends to block the governor's proposal to delay the tax breaks for two years. Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh said families of children trapped in failing schools need the option of school choice now. Marsh said Thursday he intends to kill the governor's proposal, either by getting the Legislature to reject it or never bringing it up for a vote. Earlier in the week, Governor Robert Bentley said he wants to delay the tax breaks until 2015 to give failing schools time to improve.
The last Amnesty program in Montgomery was offered in September, 2009. Mayor Todd Strange says it was an enormous success. Another amnesty event will take place the first two Saturdays in June. People whose last name begins with A to M are offered the program at the Municipal Court on June 1st. Those with last names starting with N to Z will be handled on June 8th. Times are from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Governor Robert Bentley wants the Legislature to delay Alabama's private school tax credits for two years. Bentley told chamber of commerce leaders in Montgomery that a delay will give schools time to try to get off the failing list. The Legislature passed a law in February that provides tax credits for parents who move their children from failing schools to private schools or non-failing public schools. Bentley says he will sent that bill back with an executive amendment.
Governor Bentley has heaped praise on state lawmakers for their work in the 2013 regular session. The governor was in Gulf Shores Tuesday to sign a bill that would restore the Gulf State Park with a new hotel and conference center. Bentley said legislators deserve credit for revamping the Medicaid system, state gun laws, school safety and approving the Accountability Act. The governor said the current legislative session, which ends May 20th, is the best session the state has ever had.
The Integrated State Law Enforcement Task Force held a press conference Tuesday to promote safety on Memorial Day weekend through the summer. The Alabama Marine Police are one of nine agencies making up the task force. A prominent theme running through each agencies' safety tips is to curb alcohol use.
Alabama's school Accountability Act may undergo some changes. Governor Robert Bentley told members of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Monday that he is reviewing the act and is considering sending it back to the Legislature with executive amendments by mid-week. The bill will give tuition grants for students to transfer from failing schools. Bentley told the chamber at a breakfast meeting, the law was never designed to help private education.