Late Friday afternoon, Governor Robert Bentley announced a 10.6% General Fund proration. The cuts, ordered for the remainder of fiscal year ending September 2012, will likely lead to a loss of state services and probable layoffs of state employees. Most non-education programs in the state are funded through the General Fund. According to Jeremy King, deputy communications director for Governor Bentley, funding for corrections and certain functions of the court system will not be affected.
Due to the Alabama primary on Tuesday, the legislature chose not to convene. Thus, the sixth week of this legislative session was an abbreviated one.
Manufacturing Tax Incentives Bill. House Bill 159 concerns tax incentive packages for new manufacturing jobs in Alabama. Opponents of the bill continue to argue that the new incentives would deplete funds for public schools. The committee did not vote on the bill, and no date has been set for a vote.
Senate Committee Approves Bill Limiting Employers’ Right to Anti-Gun Employment Policy. The bill states that anyone denied the opportunity to transport or store a firearm or ammunition or who is fired for violating a company policy can sue a business, property owner or public or private employer, for violating the act. The bill requires firearms to be out of sight in the trunk or glove box of a locked car that is parked or operated in an area where it is permitted to be. The bill would not preempt federal laws that control firearm possession. Employers would not be civilly liable for someone’s misuse of a firearm or the theft of a firearm unless the business intentionally was involved in the misuse. It now goes to the full Senate for consideration.
Education Options Act of 2012 Filed. The Education Options Act of 2012, or the charter school bill, HB 541, proposed by Governor Bentley and Republican legislative leaders was filed in the House on Wednesday. The Alabama Education Association is expected to mount a strong opposition.
The Alabama State Public Policy Team will continue to monitor all proposed and pending legislation and maintain a presence in the State House throughout the legislative session. Should you have any questions or concerns about how the Legislature's activities could affect your business, please contact Dennis Nabors in our Montgomery office or Denise Killebrew in our Birmingham office.