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Monday, March 4, 2019

Hot Issues For the Legislature

Folks, tomorrow is the first day of the new legislative session and the three major watch-for's, according to the Daily are Gas Tax, Prisons, and Ethics Reforms.  (Reform, in this case, means a further weakening of the already inadequate standards of conduct.)  The other two are really, really big.  We looked and did not find any mention of jail food funding reform.  Nowhere.
However, the Associated Press furnishes a longer list and jail food made the cut.

Here's the link: 

https://www.al.com/news/2019/03/9-issues-to-watch-during-the-2019-alabama-legislative-session.html

And here is a shortened version but it's worth your while to read the whole thing.  Let not your heart be troubled about our pet issue being deemed as less important.  There's state-wide support and even the Sheriffs' Association is for getting the sheriffs out of the inmate food business.  Wouldn't to let all our representatives know how you feel about it.

GAS TAX
The marque issue is Gov. Kay Ivey's proposed 10-cent gas tax increase to fund road and bridge construction. The increase would be phased in over three years and then indexed to construction costs.
PRISONS

The Alabama Department of Corrections is seeking more than a $40 million increase, much of which would be used to try to hire additional corrections officers. The state faces a directive from a federal judge to increase prison staff. Ivey is also pursuing a plan to build three regional prisons.

LOTTERY
Republican Sen. Jim McClendon of Springville plans to bring back a proposed constitutional amendment to establish a state lottery. Alabama is one of only five states without a state lottery.
DISTRACTED DRIVING
The proposal would forbid motorists from holding a cell phone and other devices while driving. A person could use a hands free system to text by voice and make and answer calls if they only touch one button. 
TEACHER/ STATE EMPLOYEE PAY RAISE
Lawmakers will consider pay raises for teachers and possibly state employees as well. Sen. Arthur Orr and Rep. Bill Poole, the chairmen of the Senate and House education budget committees, said they expect a pay raise for educators, but declined to name the size of the increase being considered. 
PERMITLESS CARRY
Legislation has again been introduced to allow people to carry a handgun without getting a concealed carry permit.
JAIL FOOD  FINALLY! 
A proposal would end a decades-old system that has allowed some sheriffs to personally pocket leftover jail food funds. Republican Sen. Arthur Orr said his legislation would require jail food funds go to into a separate account that could only be used for feeding prisoners. 
RACIAL PROFILING
The bill would require law enforcement officers to collect data on race and traffic stops. 
PAYDAY LOAN
The proposal would extend the time that people have to repay a payday loan from two weeks to a minimum of 30 days. 
WHAT!   NO ETHICS?

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