Alabama Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth praised the state Senate on Thursday for its quick passage of a legislative package that is designed to retain, protect and improve the federal military presence and investment across Alabama.
The legislative package is the result of work by the Alabama Military Stability Commission, a panel that is chaired by Ainsworth and was created by state statute in 2011. In addition to several elected officials and cabinet members, the commission also includes regional appointees from areas across the state with a heavy defense concentration.
“The federal military bases located in Alabama play an important role in our state’s economy and job climate, so retaining and, when possible, expanding their footprint must always be a top priority,” Ainsworth said. “The bills that were passed by the State Senate today will enhance the educational and occupational options for dependents of active armed forces personnel, and they will implement guidelines that make Alabama even more attractive for military investment and expansion.”
Among the bills in the package are measures that will allow military dependents attending public colleges and universities in Alabama to pay in-state tuition while stationed here, provide additional state services to military veterans, guarantee the acceptance of out-of-state occupational licenses for military dependents in various professions, and others.
State Sen. Tom Butler, R-Madison, who chairs the Senate Veterans and Military Affairs Committee, said addressing issues important to military families is especially timely since Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal was recently announced as the headquarters for the new U.S. Space Command.
“Passing these bills just three days into the session offers solid evidence that Alabama is rolling out the red carpet for the U.S. Space Command,” Butler said. “Those of us who live in Alabama understand it is a special place to live, work, worship, and raise children, and the military families who report for duty here will soon learn that fact, as well.”
The package, whose progress was stalled last year when the 2020 regular session was abruptly halted by the COVID-19 pandemic, now travels to the Alabama House of Representatives for consideration.