Good morning and happy Friday! Per AP Planner, today is National Sleep Day. Please observe as you will. Here is your Daily News for Friday, March 16.
1. Gun, school safety compromise
- As predicted yesterday, sponsors of the two competing gun and school safety bills under consideration in the House came together on a compromise.
- Rep. Will Ainsworth introduced an amended version of his teacher carry bill that included elements of Rep. Allen Farley’s school marshal bill, as well as changes to give school districts more discretion and flexibility over whether education employees can be armed.
- AP’s Kim Chandler (@StateHouseKim) reports from the committee meeting.
- Also, get up to speed on details of the bill and the contentious vote by reading Brian Lyman’s story in the Advertiser and Mike Cason’s story at AL.com.
- The bill was approved by committee and could be on the floor as soon as Tuesday.
- If and when the bill hits the House floor, there is sure to be lots of debate. It could even take up a whole legislative day, meaning few, if any, other bills would be considered.
- There’s no telling whether it could survive the Senate.
2. What else happened in the State House?
With days winding down in the legislative session, bills are starting to move pretty quickly.
Like Lucy and Ethel in the chocolate factory, it can be hard to keep up! Here’s a quick rundown of major legislation on the move this week:
- The Education Trust Fund budget passed the Senate with the teacher pay raise and a big plus-up for Alabama State University. Because it is different from the House-passed version, the bill goes back to the House, which can either concur and send it to the governor or vote to go to a House-Senate conference committee to work out the differences. Read Mike Cason’s story for AL.com here and Brian Lyman’s story in today’s Advertiser here.
- At long last, Rep. Pebblin Warren’s day care safety bill received final passage in the Senate and will become law as soon as next week. It has been a long legislative journey for this bill and Mrs. Warren. Senate sponsor Sen. Gerald Dial said this is likely his last major legislative initiative.
- Sen. Dick Brewbaker’s bill to make all local school superintendents appointed rather than elected passed the Senate. Read Mary Sell’s report in the in the Decatur Daily.
- Rep. Jim Hill’s juvenile justice reform bill passed the House yesterday, but not before hours of debate and multiple amendments slowed things down. Sen Cam Ward is the sponsor in the Senate and he told AP he’d like to get the bill moving there in time to have a chance to pass.
3. Scoop: New civil asset forfeiture bill
- Headlines were made early this legislative session when those from the left and right came together to support a major overhaul to the state’s civil asset forfeiture law.
- The bill seeks to end the ability of police to seize citizens’ property absent of a criminal conviction. It also would require law enforcement to report all property seizures and how confiscated dollars are spent.
- That legislation never really got off the ground, mostly because of pushback from the law enforcement community, which argues that asset forfeiture is an important tool for police and a deterrent to crime.
- Now, the conservative side of the forfeiture team – The Alabama Policy Institute, The Institute for Justice and The Heritage Foundation – is going smaller, so to speak. They are backing new legislation that deals only with the reporting issue, and it has the support of the law enforcement community.
- Rep. Arnold Mooney introduced HB518 last night and Senate sponsor Sen. Arthur Orr is expected to drop similar legislation next week.
- Under the bill, law enforcement agencies would be required to report all civil property seizures and how proceeds are spent. This, advocates say, will take away the incentive police might have to improperly seize property.
- Barry Matson, Executive Director of the Alabama District Attorneys Association, had this to say:
The citizens of Alabama give immense authority and power to law enforcement, district attorneys and the judiciary. In granting this power, the public has a right to demand fairness, professionalism and transparency.
Together, we have crafted a comprehensive data-collection and public reporting bill that would ensure policymakers and the public have a full and accurate picture of all aspects of the forfeiture process in Alabama.
4. Marsh’s tax cut now law
- Many middle-to-low income Alabamians will pay less in taxes next year now that legislation allowing more families to claim exemptions has become law.
- Gov. Kay Ivey on Thursday signed Senate Bill 76, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, which raises the maximum income threshold for tax exemptions.
- For single filers, heads of household and married couples filing jointly, the income threshold will go from $20,000 to $23,000. For married individuals filing separately, the threshold would be raised from $10,000 to $10,500.
- An estimated 182,266 Alabama tax filers will see a decreaseunder the bill, Marsh’s office said.
- Read more about it at www.ALDailyNews.com.
5. Dems face dilemma with a riled up base
- Democrats are well-positioned to win the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives in this year’s elections.
- But, their biggest obstacle might be themselves.
- AP political reporter Bill Barrow – who many Alabama politicos remember from his time at the Press-Register – has a good write-up today about the dilemma facing Democrats with their base.
- Bottom line: What works for Democrats in Trump’s America (candidates like Doug Jones, Connor Lamb and Joe Manchin) isn’t what the liberal base wants.
“As the party barrels into primary season, its biggest success stories star Democratic moderates who’ve run strong in Trump country. But much of the energy in the party is on the left, where an active base is calling for everything from single-payer health care and a $15-an-hour minimum wage to bans on certain weapons and ammunition. Finding the balance between the base’s demands and winning general elections is Democrats’ new dilemma as they look to toward to the November midterms.”
Go read Barrow’s full story here.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama football team to visit the White House
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – House passes juvenile justice reform bill
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Police: disgruntled worker killed nurse inside Birmingham hospital
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Man convicted of killing carnival boss executed in Alabama
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama Senate delays vote on bill changing power of Lt. Governor
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Who’s right on the economic development, ethics bill?
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Senate wants permanent Daylight Savings Time
AL.COM – House approves reforms to reduce juvenile detention.
AL.COM – At least 11 workplace shootings in Alabama since 1999.
AL.COM – Winn-Dixie parent company files Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
AL.COM – Alabama would move to Daylight Saving Time year round under new bill.
AL.COM – ABC Coke workers may be eligible for benefits.
AL.COM – Travel ban keeps California team out of prestigious NASA rocketry event in Alabama.
AL.COM – Contributor U. S. Sen. Doug Jones: Why I voted for Dodd-Frank reform.
AL.COM – Jefferson County files lawsuit against opioid makers, suppliers.
AL.COM – Senate adopts ASU amendment, passes education budget.
AL.COM – Alabama lawmakers approve expanded child care oversight.
DECATUR DAILY – Bill to make county school superintendents appointed advances.
DECATUR DAILY – Bill to tie unemployment benefits to jobless rate advances.
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – UA won’t release Rondini settlement agreement.
GADSDEN TIMES – Controversial gun bill moves forward.
ANNISTON STAR – Money in the pockets of some Alabama sheriffs.
WASHINGTON POST – Trump decides to remove national security adviser, and others may follow.
WASHINGTON POST – FDA moves ahead with ‘historic’ plan to reduce nicotine in cigarettes.
NEW YORK TIMES – Mueller Subpoenas Trump Organization, Demanding Documents About Russia
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