#MayDay: 3 bills lawmakers think will boost state’s economic development


Alabama lawmakers will spend this weekend working through Sen. Del Marsh’s gaming legislation for the state economy.

In honor of May Day (or International Workers’ Day), here are three other bills moving through the Legislature that could add to the conversation about workforce prospects in Alabama:

  • Sen. Lee Pittman’s legislation to establish a separate board of trustees for Alabama’s two-year colleges is back in the Senate. The bill states that the board would focus on developing highly specialized training programs to prepare entry-level employees to meet growing workforce demands. Under current law, the state board of education is responsible for community colleges, junior colleges, technical colleges, and trade schools.
  • The House Ways and Means Education Committee is considering the Alabama Renewal Act. Sponsored by Rep. Chris Pringle, the legislation would create several new tax credits and small business credits to fuel economic growth. The bill also states that if a company receives Jobs Act incentives and employs veterans for at least 22 percent of its workforce, it can receive an additional tax credit of 0.5 percent of the wages paid to veterans.
  • A proposal from Sen. Quinton Ross would make it illegal for an employer to disqualify an applicant based on their criminal history if their record isn’t directly related to the job. Employers would be barred from even considering a potential employee’s criminal background until a conditional job offer is extended.

Ross has argued that the bill would reduce barriers to employment for people with arrest and conviction records, reduce recidivism, and improve economic stability. The Senate panel on fiscal responsibility has not yet voted on the measure.