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Speaker gives Legislature either a high B or a low A for legislative session

State Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, and State House Speaker Mac McCutcheon, R-Monrovia, during a State of the State Address in 2018. (ADAM BRASHER/THE AUBURN PLAINSMAN)

Following the adjournment of the 2018 regular legislative session, Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon, R-Monrovia, said that he would grade the session a high B or a low A.

“In terms of efficiency, cooperation, and significant legislation passed, the 2018 regular session should be considered among the most successful in recent years,” McCutcheon said in a statement, “Because of conservative fiscal practices and a wise carryover of funds from the previous year, the General Fund budget, which is the largest since 2008, provides state employees with their first pay raise in a decade, begins to address critical needs in our prisons, and keeps the essential functions of government moving forward.”

“Our $6.6 billion Education Trust Fund budget rewards educators with a generous but affordable pay raise, offers healthy increases at all levels of public education, and further expands Alabama’s nationally-recognized ‘First Class’ pre-kindergarten program,” the Speaker continued. “Important bills that address Alabama’s opioid addiction crisis, provide working families with only the second state.income tax cut in 86 years, and bring a new layer of protection and security to school classrooms were passed.”

“I am most proud that the partisan discord and floor fighting that has plagued the House over the past several years was largely absent as our members worked cooperatively in the best interests of Alabamians,” McCutcheon concluded,

House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter, R-Rainsville, announced that members of the body’s Republican Caucus successfully enacted all of the items in its “Flag, Family, and Country” legislative agenda during the 2018 regular session.

“House Republicans have once again kept our promises and followed up our words with actions,” Ledbetter said. “The new laws in our Republican agenda will provide new jobs and opportunities to the military veterans who protected our nation, shield children from the traumas of domestic violence, and begin to address Alabama’s on-going opioid crisis.  All of those are worthy accomplishments that should make Alabamians proud.”

The enacted items in the agenda included:

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Increased punishments for people who commit domestic violence against a parent or guardian in the presence of a child, including the death penalty for murdering a parent or guardian with the children present,

The Veterans Employment Act which dramatically expands the “Heroes for Hire Act” previously passed by House Republicans and provides incentives to businesses that hire honorably discharged veterans who are currently unemployed for full-time jobs and earn at least $14 per hour.

The Parks for Patriots Act of 2018 which provides free, year-round admission to all Alabama state parks for all active military personnel and veterans, including members of the National Guard and Reserves.

A resolution urging all Americans to show proper honor and respect to the U.S. Flag during the playing of the National Anthem, the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, and other displays of patriotic pride.

A resolution urging Congress to fund and expedite the construction of a secure wall across the border between the United States and Mexico.

A fentanyl trafficking bill proposed by the Alabama Opioid Overdose and Addiction Council which increases penalties for the unlawful distribution of fentanyl and sets minimum mandatory sentences based on the weight.

A $10 million grant program designed to expand high-speed broadband Internet service in rural portions of the state.

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

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