Alabama legislative wrap-up: April 11–15, 2016

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Here’s your quick look at some of the major votes the Alabama House of Representatives and the Alabama Senate took this week:

On Tuesday the Alabama Senate overwhelmingly passed SB 347, a bill legalizing the research and regulation of industrial hemp—the non-intoxicating version of the cannabis plant. A similar, but not identical, bill passed the Alabama House earlier in the day. To be sent to the governor’s desk the bill must make it through the conferencing process.

On Wednesday a proposal to add an amendment to the state constitution that would keep GreeneTrack’s bingo casino operational narrowly failed. The amendment, sponsored by Sen. Bobby Singleton, a Greensboro Democrat, was shot down four votes shy of the necessary 21.

The Alabama Senate passed Wednesday evening the Education Trust Fund budget, funding education in the state, as well as the first pay raise for teachers in several years. In the largest education budget from the state since 2008’s financial crash which sent the state’s budgets careening, the $6.3 billion expenditure funds everything from K-12 public classrooms to the implementation of new educational technology.

The Alabama legislature nearly unanimously passed a new funding formula for the state’s roads and bridges Wednesday evening, in what legislators and outside groups are celebrating as a return to greater local control of transportation funds. The bill, SB 180, establishes the Alabama Transportation Safety Fund, which will receive revenues designated for “maintenance, improvement, replacement, and construction of state, county, and municipal roads and bridges within the state.”

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