Senate committee approves supplemental funding bill to give Corrections $30 million

February 22, 2018

By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

A Senate committee passed a supplement to the General Fund Wednesday that appropriates an additional $30 million for the Department of Correction in their ongoing dilemma to raise standards of mental health and prisoner health care.

The Senate Committee on Taxation General Fund approved the measure yesterday after chairman state Sen. Tripp Pittman, R-Montrose, said committee members had worked through some technical problems with the bill.

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State Sen. Hank Sanders, the longest serving senator, will not seek re-election

February 13, 2018

By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

State Sen. Hank Sanders, D-Selma, is leaving the Alabama Senate after serving 9 terms in the upper chamber.

Sanders, who had qualified to run, made the decision last-minute through a press release saying “Some times it is time.”

“I had thought that I would run to serve one more term in the Alabama State Senate, and I qualified to run in January,” Sanders said. “However, when I took off 24 hours for our 48th wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago, I began to realize what a heavy load I carry.”

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Alabama Senate moves to make “upskirting” illegal

February 9, 2018

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama Senate on Thursday voted unanimously to pass a bill that would make a voyeuristic act known as “upskirting” a felony.

If passed by the House and signed into law, the legislation, sponsored by Sen. Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville, would make it illegal for anyone to take a photo of a woman’s intimate areas by sneaking a phone under her skirt.

“It’s the beginning of the processes of justice for a lot of victims,” Chambliss said Thursday. “It’s a very emotional issue for them. They feel defiled, invaded, their privacy. It may be a public place, but we wear clothes to protect our privacy.”

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Senate committee approves bill to allow display of Ten Commandments on public property

February 9, 2018

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

An Alabama Senate committee approved a bill Thursday that will allow for the public display of the Ten Commandments on public property including government building grounds and public schools.

The bill, by Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, received a unanimous vote from the Senate Constitution, Ethics and Elections committee after Democrats pushed for an amendment to allow for the placement of other religious displays that express faith or religious belief.

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Small income tax break gets Senate approval

January 26, 2018

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama Senate approved a small income tax break Thursday.

Part of the Republican agenda, the break would increase the adjusted gross income range for the largest standard income tax deduction, meaning some families will have a smaller tax burden next year.

“We finally have some dollars to deal with the needs of the state,” said President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, who sponsored the tax cut. “The working class men and women of this state will benefit. No high-income benefit from this. It’s all strictly working people of the state of Alabama.”

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Alabama Senate passes bill to prohibit, track racial profiling in traffic stops

January 17, 2018

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama State Senate voted overwhelmingly Tuesday in favor of a bill that would define racial profiling, prohibit law enforcement officers from engaging in it and require law enforcement agencies to track the race of those pulled over for traffic stops.

Sen. Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham, introduced the bill, which would require agencies, including local police departments, county sheriffs and ALEA, to file reports with the Attorney General’s Office that including the race and ethnicity of motorists stopped by law enforcement.

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Monument Bill passes out of Senate again

May 19, 2017

Sam Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

A bill that would protect monuments older than 40 years passed the Senate today after it was sent back by the House with amendments.

The bill initially faced concerns that it would not protect Civil Rights-era monuments while protecting Confederate Memorials. The original bill only required monuments that were over 50 years to be protected from being altered in anyway.

In response, the Senate Democrats had a filibuster on the floor which lasted about three hours in March. In the end, the bill’s time frame was shortened to 20 years instead of 50.
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Autism Bill passes Senate on Tuesday instead of Wednesday

May 17, 2017

Sam Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama Senate passed a bill that would require healthcare plans to cover Autism Spectrum Disorder treatments for people under 19.

Only children 9 and under are required to be covered currently.

The substituted version of a bill was unexpectedly introduced on the Senate floor. It was originally scheduled to be voted on Wednesday but it was put on Tuesday’s agenda as the first bill.

President Pro Tem Senator Del Marsh (R-Anniston) said the bill was introduced early because they had worked on the bill over the weekend and wanted to introduce it as soon as possible. Advocates of Autism coverage were planning on being present on Wednesday to see the bill voted on.
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An executive amendment from the Governor could hold up controversial adoption bill

April 27, 2017

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY — Gov. Kay Ivey is considering an executive amendment to a controversial bill passed by the Alabama Legislature this week that would give faith-based adoption agencies the right to deny services to same-sex couples.

Ivey is considering a relatively minor change to the bill, sources close to the governor have told the Alabama Political Reporter. But applying an executive amendment to the bill would send it back to the Legislature for another round of votes, where it could get lost in the chaos as the end of the 2017 legislative session looms.

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Senate withstands filibuster, passes ETF budget

April 5, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama Senate on Tuesday finally waited out Sen. Paul Bussman and passed its version of the State’s Education Budget.

The $6.4 billion Education Trust Fund Budget increases overall funding by a bit more than 1 percent, or about $90 million, and mostly level funds K-12 schools and higher ed. However, the overall share of the ETF budget declined again, bring the wrath of Bussman, who essentially carried out a two-day filibuster.
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