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Legislature expected to deal with budgets this week

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama House of Representatives will meet today to consider the state General Fund Budget (SGF).

The state of Alabama is unique among the states in that most of the money is earmarked for specific purposes allowing the legislature little year to year flexibility in moving funds around. The SGF includes appropriations for the Alabama Medicaid Agency, the courts, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), the Alabama Department of Corrections, mental health, and most state agencies that are no education related. The Alabama Department of Transportation gets their funding mostly from state fuel taxes.

The Legislature also gives ALEA a portion of the gas taxes.

K-12 education, the two year college system, and all the universities get their state support from the Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget.

There is also billions of dollars in revenue that are earmarked for a variety of purposes that does not show up in the SGF or ETF budgets. Examples of that includes the Public Service Commission which collects utility taxes from the industries that it regulates. The PSC is supported entirely by its own revenue streams and actually contributes ~$13 million to the SGF. The Secretary of State’s Office is entirely funded by its corporate filing and other fees and gets no SGF appropriation.

The 2019 fiscal year begins on October 1, 2018.

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The General Fund Budget for the 2019 fiscal year is Senate Bill 178. It is sponsored by Sen. Trip Pittman, R-Montrose. State Representative Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, is expected to carry the budget on the House floor. Clouse chairs the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee.

In addition to the SGF the House also has is considering a supplemental appropriation for some state General Fund agencies. Senate Bill 175 will include additional 2018 budget monies for the Department of Corrections the Departmental Emergency Fund, and Forensic Sciences.

SB175 is also sponsored by Pittman and is being carried by Clouse.

SB203 is also on today’s calendar. It is sponsored by Pittman and is being carried by State Representative Ken Johnson, R-Moulton. It raises securities and registration fees for agents and investment advisors. It increases the filing fees for certain management investment companies.

SB176 has a appropriation for the Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The bill requires the agency to have an operations plan, auditied financial statement, and quarterly and end of year reports.

SB176 is sponsored by Pittman and is being carried on the House floor by State Representative Elaine Beech (D-Chatham).

Senate Bill 185 gives state employees a cost of living increase in the 2019 budget beginning on October 1. It is sponsored by Senator Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville, and is being carried on the House floor by state Representative Dimitri Polizos, R-Montgomery.

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Senate Bill 215 gives retired state employees a one time bonus check. SB215 is sponsored by Senator Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, and is being carried on the House floor by state Representative Kerry Rich, R-Guntersville.

Senate Bill 231 is the appropriation bill increase amount to the Emergency Forest Fire and Insect and Disease Fund. SB231 is sponsored by Senator Steve Livingston, R-Scottsboro, and is carried on the House floor by state Representative Kyle South, R-Fayette.

The House Rules Committee also has a second proposed special order calendar for today.

It includes: HB305 dealing with human trafficking; HB470 dealing with the sales and use tax; HB447 dealing with the school safety and security task force; HB311 dealing with the Transportation Infrastructure Bank, HB320 dealing with state income tax filing requirement threshold; HB140 dealing with handicapped parking; HB333 requiring that motor vehicles have their headlights on from sunset to sunrise; HB316 dealing with credit union regulations; HB457 dealing with pharmacy records and auditing procedures; HB232 dealing with unlawful distribution of controlled substances; HB236 dealing with school resource officers; HB211 dealing with mortuary school students and apprenticeships; HB446 authorizing the creation of the Alabama Rural Hospital Resource Center at UAB; HB239 dealing with voter registration, procedures; HB387 dealing with members of legislature providing consulting services to notify Ethics Commission of certain arrangements; HB138 dealing with civil immunity; and HB346 dealing with campaign finance reports.

On Saturday Senator J.T. “Jabo” Waggoner, R-Vestavia, predicted that the Senate will take up the education trust fund (ETF) budget. Both budgets could have passed both House of the legislature by the end of the day on Thursday.

Tuesday is the 19th legislative day.

The Legislature can use only meet 30 days in the Regular Session each year. Waggoner predicted that the Legislature will only use 25 of those 30 days this year.

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Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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