Five more days. One thing I have learned is that things move pretty fast the last few days of the session as our elected representatives make the final push to get their bills passed. So what hasn’t been decided upon?
Big Money Items
The Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget, HB166, has yet to be decided upon by the full Senate. Here is the bill labeled as the Senate substitute for HB166. HB506, which states what amount of a pay raise teachers may receive has yet to be decided. The House said 2%, the Senate Committee said 1%. HB506 also includes the liability insurance provision for public school employees.
SB67, which protects local boards of education from “unfunded mandates” has been passed by the Senate, and has received a favorable report from the House committee, but has not come before the full House for a vote just yet. Unfunded mandates have to do with when laws are passed that require local boards of education to spend money of their own when it was not their idea to implement the program requirement or law.
The 21st Century Workforce Act, HB102, should come up for a full vote in the Senate before the end of the session. This bill give authority for the state to issue up to $50 million in bonds to provide improvements in the career and technical education areas. Please look through the bill for details on how the monies will be distributed to local school systems. It’s basically a grant process with specific requirements for local school systems to be eligible to receive funding.
School Safety Bills
There are a number of school safety bills that haven’t yet become law. Some that look close to passage include HB105, which would make trespass on a school bus a class A misdemeanor. It has been named the Charles “Chuck” Poland, Jr. Act, in honor of the bus driver who was murdered while valiantly protecting the students on his bus. The bill has made its way through the House, through a Senate committee, and should come before the full Senate before the end of the session.
HB183, which would allow automatic ticketing of folks who break the law on the road by overtaking school buses, hasn’t made it far, but might still make it through before the end of the session.
HB612, the Secure School Facilities Act, would allow for the sale of up to $50 million in bonds to allow for renovations to K-12 public school buildings in order to make them more secure. It has passed the House but has not yet been assigned to a Senate committee. This one has moved pretty quickly, having been introduced on April 11 and passed the full House in a short two weeks.
HB208 provides for warrantless arrest of anyone trespassing on educational institution property. It has made it through the House, through a Senate committee and is waiting to be considered by the full Senate.
Alabama Accountability Act Changes
Yeah, this one. HB84. Caused a big stir when it was passed, and continues to confound those who try to place a numerical value on the effect it may have on the ETF as a result of its passage. A number of bills have been introduced to amend it, including HB658, which is the first amendment to receive a favorable report from its House committee. The others are still in committee. But, like I said, things can move fast these last few days of the session, so you might want to pay close attention in case you need to make a phone call or send an e-mail to your legislator to let your voice be heard.
How to Listen In As It Happens
Start here to find the links to audio and video of our legislators in action. You can listen in as the Senate committees have their discussion, though I don’t see any bills on the Senate committee calendar as of today for this week that might warrant our interest. Check out the Big Green Box in the illustration for where to find the link to audio of the House chamber, and links to video and audio of the Senate chamber.