Thursday’s hectic legislative activities – perhaps an indicator of the challenges which await during the last days of this year’s regular session – kept the Association staff juggling details as two important ACCA Bills were debated and then passed at almost the exact same time in the House and Senate.
The legislation reforming funding for Alabama’s important 9-1-1 programs (HB 89 Mike Millican) passed the Senate after almost two hours of debate. The bill is set for a final “concurrence” vote in the House on Tuesday which will send the measure to Gov. Robert Bentley for his signature. Moments earlier, the Association’s bill revising the statewide tax on severed materials (HB 364 by Elwyn Thomas) was passed by the House and is pending committee action in the Senate next week.
When lawmakers return to Montgomery Tuesday, they are scheduled for a rare 3-day work week that will mean the Association’s County Day @ the Legislature on Wednesday afternoon will coincide with an actual “work” day for the Alabama Legislature.
Your contacts with your legislators are critical in these fast-moving final days, because ACCA may have little advance notice before a good bill that needs our support – or a Danger Bill that needs our input – comes up for a vote. Appreciation is expressed to everyone who responded to ACCA’s Action Alerts this week!
Early Thursday evening the Senate passed Mike Millican’s HB 89 with a pair of agreed-to amendments. This ACCA bill, which resulted from two years of negotiation, will establish a statewide 9-1-1 service charge intended to adequately fund the state’s 9-1-1 districts and alter the makeup and duties of the statewide 9-1-1 coordinating board. Because of the Senate’s changes, the bill has to return to the House so representatives can agree to those changes, a step called concurrence. This could happen as early as Tuesday, so be sure your House members are urged to SUPPORT the Senate changes to HB 89. The next stop for this bill would be the governor’s desk!
Appreciation is expressed to Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh for his leadership with the legislation on Thursday as well as to Sen. Jimmy Holley, whose strong support of the bill helped ensure its passage at the conclusion of some very confusing debate.
Severance tax on sand, gravel and limestone
The ACCA bill to boost enforcement of the severance tax on sand, gravel and limestone (HB 364 Elwyn Thomas) (Get the FACT SHEET) won approval in the House Thursday afternoon, and it is in position for a Senate committee vote next week. Special thanks are due to Steve McMillan for his skillful handling of the bill on the House floor. Encourage members of the Senate Commerce, Transportation and Utilities Committee to SUPPORT this bill that is backed by ACCA, the quarry industry and the Department of Revenue. Committee: Allen, chairperson; Reed, vice chairperson; Holtzclaw, McGill, Ross, Scofield, Smith.
Another ACCA bill is poised for final passage as Paul Sanford’s SB 236 is on the House work agenda for Tuesday! The bill would ensure that subdivision regulations are enforced where a city’s planning jurisdiction stretches outside city limits, and it could be the first ACCA bill to reach the governor’s desk this year. (Get the FACT SHEET) Ask House members to SUPPORT SB 236 and to please STAY IN SESSION long enough to get to this important bill.
Proper payment of deed taxes
ACCA’s bill (SB 216 Tammy Irons) (Get the FACT SHEET) to ensure proper payment of deed taxes is just one step away from the House floor, and your help is needed to help get over this next-to-last hurdle. Someone on the House Rules Committee must “pick” SB 216 for the House’s working agenda. The bill is NOT a tax increase, but it would bring about uniform enforcement of existing taxes statewide. Ask your committee member to “pick” SB 216. Committee: Galliher, chair; Ron Johnson, vice chair; Buskey, ranking minority member; Boyd, Ford, Gaston, Greer, McClurkin, Jones, Laird, Merrill, Rich, Oliver Robinson, Harper, Wood.
Excess after tax sales
It is hoped that this week the Senate will take up Steve Clouse’s HB 177, which clarifies the distribution of the bid excess when property is sold for unpaid taxes. (Get the FACT SHEET) Ask your senators to SUPPORT this bill that has been agreed to by ACCA and the banking industry.
Property tax exemptions
The Senate could also give final passage to Jack Williams’ HB 120 regarding property tax exemptions for the elderly and disabled. (Get the FACT SHEET) Ask your senators to SUPPORT this bill that would increase the tax exemption and close a loophole.
Road and bridge funding
A Danger Bill was favorably amended in committee this week because of contacts made by county leaders, and now the focus turns to preserving that amendment on the Senate floor. As introduced, HB 543 by Steve Clouse would have increased the Department of Agriculture and Industries’ cut of the petroleum inspection fee – at the expense of several groups, including county road and bridge funds. The amendmentpreserves local government’s share of these dollars. Urge your senator to SUPPORT the committee amendment on the floor to help counties put up essential matching funds for the ATRIP bond issue program.
Alabama Trust Fund
The House is scheduled to vote Tuesday afternoon on a bill (SB 147 Arthur Orr) revising the annual payments counties and the state of Alabama received from the Alabama Trust Fund. The bill was introduced after the Association staff worked directly with State Treasurer Young Boozer on the new allocation formula that will ensure a more stable source of funding and will protect the fund from erosion during bad financial times. The proposed constitutional amendment also establishes an advisory committee of county and city officials to offer input on investments of the fund. Ask your House members to SUPPORT SB 147.
Legislation to help with Jefferson County’s bankruptcy (HB 745 Jack Williams) was introduced and approved by committee this week. ACCA has provided assistance and support on this initiative and will keep counties informed as plans for this legislation are finalized. With only a few days remaining in this year’s session, the passage of this bill will require the support of county officials from throughout the state.
Sales Tax Payments
The legislation (SB 459 Slade Blackwell) establishing a process for businesses to file and remit local sales taxes through a centralized process operated by the Alabama Department of Revenue was passed this week. The compromise version of the bill does not alter or reduce the ability of counties to collect, administer and enforce local taxes. The bill simply establishes another method for businesses to remit the tax payments through a statewide system.