The prevailing narrative most of this session has been the lack of legislative drama.
I’ve contributed to that in this space, and most recently in my column on what a great budget year it has been in Alabama (thx Sand Mountain Reporter for publishing).
However, drama is starting to build around some “must-pass” legislation in these final days.
“Must pass bills”
- That term gets thrown around a lot, but it generally refers to legislation that, if not acted upon, would cause a significant problem for state government and likely require a special session to fix.
- Three bills fit that description at the moment: House Bills 321 & 322, which are Medicaid provider taxes for nursing homes and hospitals, respectively. If they don’t pass, Alabama’s Medicaid system will face a major shortfall and miss out on federal match money.
- The third is legislation reauthorizing the State Pilotage Commission, without which the State Port Authority can’t really operate.
- Sen. Trip Pittman wants to use this reauthorization process as an opportunity to reform the pilotage commission by changing its makeup.
- He’s insisting that his reform language be part of any reauthorization bill, and he’s pretty serious about it.
Holding all the cards
- Mr. Pittman, it so happens, chairs the Senate Finance & Taxation General Fund Committee, where the other two “must pass” bills are also awaiting action.
- Pittman appears to have the leverage to get what he wants on the State Pilotage Commission, especially with everyone wanting to go ahead and adjourn this week.
- So, it looks like we could have some drama after all.