Busy & Successful Week For SubAla At State House
Senate Bill 268 Will Provide SubAla ACRI Representation
By now you should have received the "Legislative Alert" email informing you about Senate Bill 268. Below is a summary of the email.
SB268 sponsored by Senator Del Marsh (President Pro Tempore) would increase the membership of the Alabama Construction Recruitment Institute, (ACRI) board to include an appointment to the board submitted by SubAla.
ACRI was created in 2009 to address a growing shortage of skilled construction craftsmen and an aging construction labor workforce and is funded in large part by Alabama's subcontractors and specialty contractors. While SubAla has been involved with ACRI over the years, passage of this legislation will allow SubAla to successfully represent its members and Alabama's subcontractors and specialty contractors.
The bill has been placed in the Committee of Governmental Affairs. I strongly encourage you to contact the committee members, which are listed at the end of this email, and express your support of this bill. I also encourage you to contact your representative and ask for their support of this legislation. A copy of the bill can be found by clicking here or SB268 anywhere in this email.
SubAla On Hand for Fair and Open Competition Legislation
SubAla attended the House State Government Committee this week when it approved HB195, sponsored by Rep. Mack Butler. The bill known as the Fair and Open Competition in Governmental Construction Act, would require state and local public agencies, with some valid exceptions, to remain neutral by prohibiting any requirement to use union labor in public improvement contracts by state or local public agencies, unless there is an imminent threat to public health or safety.
The intent of this legislation is to promote "the economical, nondiscriminatory, and efficient administration and completion of state and state-funded or state-assisted construction projects" and provide for "fair and open competition for construction contracts, grants, tax abatements, and tax credits awarded by governmental units."
This bill which was offered by ABC and supported by Subala could come up for a vote in the House as soon as early next week. We will keep you updated regarding its progress.
SubAla Members Benefit From The Following Legislation
Unemployment Compensation Changes
HB88 introduced by Rep. Jack Williams R- Homewood, is a revision to a current law that allows recipients to only earn $15.00 in part time or temporary work without any reduction in benefits.
This 2014 amendment pushed by the Al. Dept. of Labor and supported by SubAla allows recipients to increase that earning amount to up to one-third of their weekly payment without a reduction in unemployment benefits. Subcontractors who often use part time and temporary workers could see an increased applicant pool.
The estimated cost to the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund is $980,000. The estimated weekly increase to person's benefits is $28.00. The bill is postured for final passage in the House.
Historic Rehab Bill
The Senate companion to HB274 the Historic Rehab Bill by Rep. Victor Gaston was introduced by Sen. Tammy Irons and had its first reading in Finance and Taxation Education. Existing law allows the taxpayer engaged in rehabilitation, preservation and development of historic structures a tax credit against any tax liability they may incur. This bill provides for the transfer of said tax credit against the tax liability of the tax payer.
Final Republican Backed Tax Bill Approved
The last Republican tax reform measure HB42 - Alabama Taxpayer Audit Protection Act, sponsored by Rep. Wayne Johnson, R-Ryland received final passage this week. The bill would include county and municipal government and third party tax administrators in the list of those subject to the bill that prevents the Alabama Revenue Dept. from pinpointing certain agencies for audits. Violation of the bill would result in a Class A misdemeanor and being subject to dismissal or other action if the following occurs:
1. There are false statements made about or information with-held concerning a taxpayer
2. Violation of tax laws to retaliate against a taxpayer
3. Threats to audit a taxpayer for personal gain
4. Destruction of records to conceal a mistake
Floor Votes Sure to Cause Fireworks
Panel Approves Speeding Up Executions
The House and Senate Judiciary Committees held joint hearings to take up measures aimed at speeding up executions for death penalty cases. The bills, backed by state prosecutors and Attorney General, Luther Strange were given quick approval this week.
But fireworks are sure to erupt when the bills reach the floor of the House and Senate. Defense lawyers believe the shortened appeal process could lead to the execution of innocent people.
Families of victims appeal to the legislature to shorten the current process since the mental agony of waiting decades to see a death sentence carried out is outrageous and unfair to them. No date has been set for these bills to be debated on the floor.
Black Legislators Frown on Bill to Change
Voter Registration Deadline
Pushed by the Alabama Secretary of State, the bill that would mandate a voter registration deadline to 17 days prior to an election has received pushback from many black lawmakers.
Citing the large amount of last minute registrations and as a roadblock to accurately develop voter lists, the proposal moves the current deadline of ten days prior to an election to 17 days prior to an election.
If the super majority flexes its legislative muscle it should receive final passage but not without hurt feelings since the black lawmakers say that it could have the chilling effect of voter suppression.
State Employee Pay Raise May Be In Jeopardy
Some sources have quoted Speaker Mike Hubbard as saying that a state employee pay raise may not be possible this year. He cites the tremendous demands on the budget by ailing state agencies as the cause and no extra revenue to provide a pay raise is available.
Governor Bentley proposed a 4% pay raise if revenue could be found.
Are Term Limits Coming Soon
As in previous years, Senator Trip Pittman has dropped in a bill limiting Alabama legislators to three four year terms. The Senator has said that this formula is the right mix for experience and fresh ideas. It failed to pass last year.
Bills to Watch That May Effect You
Revision of Alabama Open Meetings Act
If this bill passes the legislature sponsored by Sen. Ward - R - Bibb, Chilton, Jefferson, Shelby citizens would have greater flexibility to challenge meetings believed to be in violation of the open meetings law.
Under the existing law the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that the current law does not apply to a series of committee or sub-committee meetings and Citizen lawsuits were prohibited. The new bill would expressly prohibit these serial meetings and allow citizen lawsuits with certain restrictions. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
5 Year Commitment for Economic Incentives
In the Governor's State of the State, Bentley vowed to bring new industries to Alabama. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Burdine-D-Lauderdale, is designed to place some guarantees on the economic incentives typically received by businesses who expand or locate.
As introduced, it would mandates that new or expanding businesses guarantee employment levels in order to receive tax incentives. The 5 year commitment would allow the Alabama Department of Revenue to audit the company for compliance.
Welfare Reform Tops Republican Agenda
A package of bills designed to reform the state's public assistance programs cleared a hurdle this week and was approved by a Senate committee and are eligible for debate on the floor. Most of the bills are patterned after other states who have already put measures in place to ensure that assistance programs are not abused.
Studies have indicated that millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded public assistance have been spent on alcohol, tobacco, casinos and strip clubs.
The measures include the following:
INCREASED PENALTIES FOR FRAUD, PROHIBITS THE SPENDING OF WELFARE ON LIQUOR, TOBACCO, CASINOS AND STRIP CLUBS, REQUIRES WELFARE APPLICANTS TO SUBMIT 3 JOB APPLICATIONS BEFORE RECEIVING BENEFITS, ALLOWS FOR DRUG TESTING OF WELFARE APPLICANTS WHO HAVE A PRIOR DRUG CONVICTION
Please be sure to contact David Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments or concerns on current or proposed legislation.
GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
SENATOR JIMMY W. HOLLEY, Chairperson; SENATOR ROGER H. BEDFORD, JR.,
Vice Chairperson; SENATOR SCOTT BEASON, SENATOR DICK BREWBAKER, SENATOR LINDA COLEMAN, SENATOR PRISCILLA DUNN, SENATOR VIVIAN DAVIS FIGURES, SENATOR ARTHUR ORR, SENATOR TRIP PITTMAN, SENATOR PAUL SANFORD, SENATOR BRYAN TAYLOR, SENATOR DEL MARSH (President Pro Tempore)
HOW TO IDENTIFY YOUR LEGISLATOR
HOW TO CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATOR
House: 334-242-7600 Senate: 334-242-7800