News & Updates

January 8, 2018

Legislative Session 2018

The Alabama Legislature returns to Montgomery on January 9th for what some expect to be a quick session lacking in controversial issues.  A healthier economy will make for easier passage of both the General Fund and Education Trust Fund Budgets.  A reserve of $93 million in the General Fund, along with growth in internet sales taxes have buoyed that budget.  Aside from budgets, most of the issues are not new - how to fund prisons and address mental health issues in corrections per last year’s court order; long overdue pay raises for teachers and state employees; and what to do if Congress doesn’t pass funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Corrections says it has increased staffing and wants to increase it further.  They also want to put a new health care contract in place.  They are seeking $80 million in new funding over the next two years.

Medicaid, usually an abysmal picture in budget hearings, has told the legislature that lower than expected drug prices and a carry-over in the budget could reduce their request from the General Fund by some $43 million.

Legislators remain hopeful that Congress will renew the CHIP program that covers about 150,000 children in Alabama.  Depending on whether Congress requires matching grants from the states or picks up the full tab, we could be looking for additional money.

A bill from last year that would increase inspections for exempt day cares, many with religious affiliations, has been pre-filed and is expected to be taken up again.

All in all, most legislators want to take care of the state’s budgets and get back home to their districts.  The Primary Election will be just a few short months away.

For More Information Visit This Website: Seven Issues to Watch Throughout the Session

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