The regular session of the Alabama Legislature – without a great deal of fanfare – came to an end on April 22nd. Much of the session dealt with budgeting issues, complicated by a lack of money, and those issues were handled extremely well in the House and Senate. There were some good things during the session, but as usual, there were also the bad. Bingo battles took up a great deal of time and eventually the bill that would have put the bingo issue to a vote of the people died on the last day of the session.
Two major issues that passed were the highway financing bill and the legislation to save the PACT. Perhaps the top achievement – other than passing the budgets – was passage of the road bill sponsored by Sen. Lowell Barron and Rep. Billy Beasley. This measure is badly needed. Considering all of the state’s problems, especially those of a fiscal nature, the session has to be considered a success.
One of the biggest failures was not passing the bill to take the sales tax off food. This measure was killed by Republican House members. Another failure was the refusal of the Senate to pass the PAC to PAC transfers bill. Some are questioning if any of our “political leaders” really want the current system to change. Rep. Jeff McLaughlin has worked very hard on this issue and has to be frustrated. There were other measurers that failed to pass and I am sure there will be lots of media attention on those in the coming weeks.
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