Both the 2012 Regular and Special Sessions of the Legislature are now history.
Here’s the quick version of what got passed into law that has an impact on our K-12 education school community:
- HB19 – Allows private driver’s education instructors to conduct testing for driver’s licenses; will lessen Alabama Department of Motor Vehicles’ responsibility to test new drivers and issue driver’s licenses.
- HB136 – Exempts employees earning less than $50,000 from the Ethics Law; also raises the threshhold for public employees required to file a Statement of Economic Interest form from $50,000 to $75,000.
- HB165 – Alabama Ahead Act – [Here’s a post from February about this act and thoughts on digital textbooks, generally.] Provides for Alabama’s high school students to be provided digital textbooks, where feasible. 2012-2013’s entering ninth graders will be first to receive a pen tablet, with each entering ninth grade class to receive one in the year’s following, until all 9th through 12th graders have pen tablets. Bonds will be sold to fund the purchase of the tablets and supporting e-books and software.
- HB308 – Mandates local school boards and sports associations enact policy to restrict activity of athletes suffering concussions for certain number of days.
- HB360 – Flexible School Calendar Act of 2012, sets mandated start and end dates for schools, allows schools to provide either 180 days or 1,080 hours of instruction.
- HB407 – This bill allows monies to flow easier to school districts that were affected by the 2005 military Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC). Here’s an article discussing this bill.
- HB431 – School Board Governance Improvement Act of 2012 – This law puts many requirements on school board members, including a minimum education requirement of having obtained a high school diploma. It also mandates training for school board members and mandates the development of a code of conduct. The Department of Justice is reviewing the law right now.
- HB466 – Update to the Ethics law to allow a $25 gift to be given to public employees (teachers and principals), with no more than $50 worth of gifts in a calendar year.
- HB588 – Requires the development of a school grading system.
- HB603 – Removes the portion of the 2010 law that resulted in the Alabama Supreme Court throwing out the 2012 class action PACT settlement.
- HB670 – Farm to School Procurement Act – Allows for bureaucratic eases for the purchase of food for schools.
- HB734 – Moves $40 million from the Education Trust Fund to the Budget Stabilization Fund at the end of the FY12 fiscal year (September 30, 2012). The Budget Stabilization Fund was created as a way to save money for bad economic times.
- SB28 – Decreases the mandatory school start age from seven years old to six years old.
- SB30 – Creates a statewide database for state agency requests for proposals, including contracts and bids. The database will be publicly accessible through the Internet, and no charge will be made for access.
- SB102 – Aligned dates that the Birmingham Board of Education will take office.
- SB143 – Restored the $5,000 annual bonus to teachers who have received National Board Certification through the NBPTS. The bonus will be paid retroactively for FY11 and FY12. In addition, any principal who receives NBPTS certification will be paid the bonus beginning January 1, 2013.
- SB191 – The Lieutenant Dexter Holcomb Act – Named for the Oxford police officer killed by a school bus in 2007. Mandates physical examination of school bus drivers and clearance for duty by physician.
- SB213 – Strips public employees of portions of their retirement if that employee pleads guilty, enters a plea of no contest, or is convicted of a “felony offense if that offense is related to or arises out of, or in connection with, his or her service in that public position, as declared by the presiding judge of the court in a United States federal court, an Alabama court, or the court of any other state of the United States”. Refunds of contributions are available to the employee.
- SB257 – Mandates a $300 classroom supply allotment for each teacher unit funded under the State’s Foundation Program.
- SB318 – This is the Education Trust Fund budget. Here’s a quick summary. Here’s the actual budget that was passed.
The Special Session saw a law passed that allowed for a shift of funds from the Education Trust Fund to the General Fund for FY13.
And that’s it for the 2012 legislative sessions.