Alabama legislative agenda preview: May 19-21

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This promises to be a busy week at the Statehouse. Several news outlets are already reporting plans by House Speaker Mike Hubbard and Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh to hold a press conference Monday to introduce “budget reform initiatives.” So far, no details have been made public. Keep checking ALToday.com for news.

In budget-related news, House Bill 135, the general fund budget passed by the House ways and means committee on Thursday, is scheduled for a floor vote on Tuesday. However, Gov. Robert Bentley has already vowed to veto that proposal, calling it “unworkable” and “irresponsible.”

The Ways and Means Education Committee is expected to vote on the state education budget on Tuesday afternoon. Senate Bill 179 has already passed the Senate.

Also on Tuesday, House members are scheduled to debate appropriations for the Children’s First Trust Fund (House Bill 129) and the Coalition Against Domestic Violence (House Bill 134).

Here are other items on the legislative agenda this week:

•The Senate Judiciary committee is scheduled to vote on Senate Bill 468, also known as the Alabama Dog Tethering and Outdoor Shelter Act. Sen. Jabo Waggoner filed the bill to make it illegal for dog owners to tie their pets to stationary objects and says that any pet kept outside must have adequate food, water, and shelter. The dog chaining bill could be the last of four closely watched protections against animal cruelty this session.

•The committee will also debate a proposal to penalize sex offenders who fail to register with the county in which they plan to reside. Sponsored by Rep. Juandalynn Givan, House Bill 316 also requires sex offenders to provide law enforcement with a list of any Internet providers they use.

•A Senate health panel will consider Senate Bill 318, legislation to grant immunity to minors under the influence of alcohol or drugs and seeking medical help for another minor.

•The House committee on education policy will hear Senator Waggoner present details on House Bill 664, a plan to allow members of the Alabama Public Charter School Commission to be appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor, president pro tempore of the Senate, and the speaker of the House of Representatives rather than the state board of education.

•At 9 a.m. Wednesday, a House panel will hear public argument centering on tightening regulations of the title loan industry. House Bill 400, sponsored by Rep. Rod Scott, would require licensing for title loan offices and establish caps on charges, fees, and interest for title loans.

•Rep. Arnold Mooney will appear before the House Judiciary Committee to present his measure banning assisted suicide in Alabama. House Bill 496 imposes civil and criminal penalties on medical professionals and care providers who provide help in dying under certain conditions.

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