Quick Reads – April 12, 2016
Things are moving quickly in the state legislature. With only 10 days left, here’s what’s on tap for this week.
Most of the action appears to be in the Senate this week.
There are 35 Senators to represent the 4.85 million people in Alabama. That’s a lot of power in the hands of very few people, folks.
In fact, that’s one (1) Senator for approximately every 139,000 people, according to math.
Here’s your heads up.
Education Trust Fund Budget in Senate Committee Tuesday
After a public hearing on Tuesday, the Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee is expected to vote on the Education Trust Fund budget package, which includes raises for teachers (4% for those making less than $75,000 and 2% for those making more than $75,000. If the committee passes it, the package must still be approved by the full Senate.
Here’s the audio link to Room 727 in the statehouse, where the committee will conduct the hearing and vote at 2 p.m. (The audio link doesn’t work in Chrome, though. Only Internet Explorer.)
PREP Act on the Floor of the Senate
The PREP Act is expected to hit the floor of the Senate today. After another week of discussion and collaboration, the PREP Act has been transformed again.
Insiders say this level of collaboration is unusual. And refreshing.
Both the Alabama Association of School Boards and the Alabama State Department of Education’s Coordinator of Educator Effectiveness support the bill.
Audio of the Senate floor is here (The audio link doesn’t work in Chrome, though. Only Internet Explorer.). Video is here. Watch your elected leaders in action.
What happens on that floor is incredibly important to the people of Alabama.
Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)
Last Tuesday, HB84 dropped off track when the House failed to approve the procedure required to consider the bill. On Thursday, Sen. Dick Brewbaker (R-Montgomery) filed SB395, which is essentially the same version Rep. Ken Johnson (R-Moulton) failed to get through the House. A public hearing has been called for Wednesday in the Senate Education and Youth Affairs committee at 8:30 a.m. (No, that room isn’t wired for audio, and I won’t be able to attend. Periscope, anyone? It’s free, and I would appreciate it.).
Alabama Ahead Act — Part 1 — Makes It to the Finish Line
There have been a number of versions of the Alabama Ahead Act, certainly. This year’s first House version, HB41, hit a few bumps in the road but has now made it back to the Governor’s office and is awaiting his signature.
Part 2, the bill (HB227) that appropriates $12 million from the Education Trust Fund budget to pay for the stuff in HB41, is still hung up in the Senate.
For more on this, read this.
The Big Data Bill, HB125
Rep. Terri Collins’ (R-Decatur) Alabama Longitudinal Data System (ALDS) bill, HB125, got hung up in the Senate last week, too.
(Stuff is going on there, folks. You have to listen for yourself to figure it out. The audio link doesn’t work in Chrome, though. Only Internet Explorer.)
At this point, it’s up to Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh to call it back for a vote.
For more on this, read this.
When Do They Get Back to the Floor on Tuesday?
The “floor” is where our elected leaders vote on bills.
The House convenes at 1 p.m. The Senate convenes at 4 p.m.
Here’s the Time Clock for Our Elected State Officials
No, this doesn’t mean these are the only hours they’ve worked. But these are the only hours where our laws are made.
How to Navigate ALISON
The website that allows us all to follow along is called ALISON, the Alabama Legislative Information System Online.
Here’s how to navigate that system for those DIY folks out there. (DIY means “Do It Yourself”.) This video was made in September 2015.