Alabama lawmakers are officially back to work; the 2018 legislative session kicked off on Tuesday.
Because it is an election year, many legislators expect a short session that could end by late April allowing them more time to campaign ahead of the June 5 primaries.
Overall, it was a fairly light week. Tuesday was dominated by Gov. Kay Ivey’s first State of the State address and Thursday by Senate Republicans introducing their legislative priorities for the year including an income tax cut, and the House passing a term limits bill.
Here are the highlights out of Montgomery this week:
In the Governor’s office:
- Ivey gives her first State of the State address: On Tuesday night, Ivey gave her first State of the State address before a joint session of the Alabama Legislature. She painted an optimistic outlook of the state as she told the crowd the dark cloud over the state has been lifted, the ship of state steadied. She also touched on various policy initiatives she hopes to accomplish in the new year.
- State of Emergency issued due to widespread flu outbreak: Ivey declared a State Public Health Emergency on Thursday. Healthcare facilities are overwhelmed due to the influx of flu patients, and Ivey’s emergency declaration allows those facilities to implement “alternative standards of care” plans to preserve lives.
- Republican’s 2018 legislative agenda unveiled: The Alabama Senate Republican Caucus announced their legislative priorities for the 2018 legislative session at a press conference on Thursday morning at the Statehouse. The “Fighting for Alabama” agenda will focus on legislation to spur economic growth, encourage infrastructure improvements, and protect children.
- Bill proposed for state income tax cut: Alabama Senate Republicans on Thursday announced they have proposed a bill that would allow more taxpayers to take the maximum standard deduction on their state income taxes.
- Bill passed to impose term limits on members of the U.S. Congress: On Thursday, the state House passed a resolution calling for there to be a Article V convention of the states to impose term limits on members of the federal government. The single-issue amendment convention would allow the American people to term limit Congress without needing federal lawmakers’ approval. This process, was designed by America’s Founders specifically to rein in abuses of power coming from members of the U.S. House and Senate.With the success in the Alabama House, the resolution is expected to pass the Alabama Senate this session as well, placing Alabama at the forefront of states proposing an amendment for term limits on the U.S. Congress.
- Will ridesharing soon be a reality for all of Alabama?: Mountain Brook-Republican State Rep. David Faulkner and Greensboro-Democratic State Sen. Bobby Singleton are soon introducing a bill that would create a ridesharing network across the state for companies like Uber and Lyft, making ridesharing operations available statewide.