News & Updates

May 4, 2012

Session Updates

The Alabama Legislature is beginning the last full week of its 2012 regular session with the emphasis on the state budgets.

-The legislature gave final approval to legislation cutting off the state pensions for public employees who commit crimes related to their government positions.  The bill provides that active or retired public employees who are convicted of crimes related to their public positions will forfeit the state-paid portion of their pensions, which is the largest part. They would get back the portion of their salaries they paid toward their pensions, plus interest. If they have been retired long enough to receive the money they paid into the state pension system, then they would get nothing.  The Governor wants to review the bill before saying whether he will sign it into law.  David Bronner, chief executive of the Retirement Systems of Alabama, said, “It’s good for the taxpayers in the state.”

-Gave final OK to plan to reduce pension benefits for new public employees, saving the state an
estimated $5.05 billion over almost 31 years by reducing pension benefits for teachers and other public employees hired in 2013 and later.

-Alabama Legislature passes bill barring abortion coverage.  The bill will allow the state to opt out from providing insurance coverage for abortions under the new federal health care program.

-The House passed all four of the insurance bills on its agenda Tuesday, leaving the signature of the governor as the only step remaining for a significant part of south Alabama lawmakers’ insurance package to become law.  Each of the measures had already passed the Senate and are now completely through the Legislature.

-Senate approves General Fund Budget which includes cuts to many agencies and is contingent on a vote of the people.  The $1.4 billion budget, which would go into effect on Oct. 1, depends upon the passage of a constitutional amendment that would effectively funnel money from the Alabama Trust Fund to the General Fund to plug a $200 million gap in funding for the Alabama Medicaid Agency. The amendment would have to be approved by voters in November.
The House budget committee has devised an education budget that would cut fewer teachers’ jobs than the one passed by the Alabama Senate.  The proposal would take out $20 million that was originally allocated for bus purchases. In his plan, the state would sell $30 million in bonds to buy buses instead of using current revenue

-Gov. Robert Bentley’s key job creation bill hit a Senate roadblock Wednesday when it failed to get enough votes to move into position for debate.  • The Senate vote of 18-15 on a procedural requirement called the Budget Isolation Resolution was insufficient to move House Bill 160 into position for debate and possible passage.

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