Alabama Statehouse week in review: May 5-7

Alabama Statehouse

Just 10 days left in the regular session, folks. That’s assuming, of course, that Gov. Robert Bentley doesn’t have to make good on his pledge to call a Special Session if his budget proposals don’t go through.

In case you missed it, here are some of the headlines that came from the statehouse this week:

•Sen. Del Marsh unveiled his legislation to create a lottery and allow class three gaming in Alabama racetracks. In a press conference on Monday, he urged Gov. Bentley to “Let the people decide” on his gaming proposal before pushing forward his plan to increase taxes.

•House Republicans quickly followed Sen. Marsh’s announcement with a budget plan that includes a compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, as recommended in Marsh’s plan.

•On Wednesday, House Republicans quickly approved a slate of tax increases mentioned in their budget plan. Most of the measured passed out of the House on Thursday, with exception of two proposals to cut state employee pay.

•After heated debate last week, the House sent a bill to impose membership, term, and compensation limits on the Birmingham Water Works Board to the governor.

•A new board will oversee Alabama’s two-year colleges, thanks to a bill  sent to Gov. Bentley this week. Legislators said a board made up of industry and business leaders would help focus the colleges’ mission of worker training and workforce development.

•Sen. Cam Ward ended the week by getting his comprehensive prison reform bill through the House. Senate Bill 67 passed with a 100-5 vote; the Senate quickly concurred on the House version, then sent it to Bentley for signature on Thursday evening.