House rejects substitute budget plan from Black Caucus

Alabama Statehouse

Alabama House of Representatives Black Caucus chairman Rep. John Knight offered a new budget plan Tuesday that’s backed by the caucus.

During floor debate Tuesday on House Bill 135, Knight offered the plan to provide current-year level funding to what he called “the essential functions of government”: Medicaid, the department of corrections, public health, and law enforcement.

“This budget plan is a compromise … that would allow us to fund all the entities we need to fund and establish a priority for funding those entities we have to fund as a Legislature,” Knight said.

In order to reach current-year funding, Knight urged the members to consider passing Senate Bill 375 to unearmark agency funding and allow department heads greater flexibility within agency budgets.

Rep. Steve Clouse, chairman of the Ways and Means General Fund, voiced concern over the agencies that would get no additional support under the substitute budget, including money to support fire departments, geological surveys, and the state oil and gas board.

The House decided to table the substitute bill by a vote of 74 to 23.