2018 Legislative Session Recap, January 8th – 12th

2018 Legislative Session Recap, January 8th – 12th

The Alabama House Republican Caucus accomplished two items in its 2018 “Flag, Family, and Country” legislative agenda this week by passing caucus resolutions that call upon Congress to quickly fund and build a secure wall along the U.S./Mexican border and urge respect for the American flag during patriotic displays such as the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of the “Star Spangled Banner.”

• The flag resolution was offered by State Rep. Rich Wingo (R – Tuscaloosa), who played for the Green Bay Packers from 1979 to 1986, and was prompted by NFL players who kneel, sit, or make disdainful gestures during the National Anthem.

• Our flag and other patriotic symbols are intended to unify all of us as one nation and one people, but these privileged, millionaire athletes are using them to divide us while setting a bad example for our young people.

• Alabamians of all colors and creeds are a largely patriotic people, and this resolution is meant to speak for all who love our flag, the soldiers who have served to defend it, and all that it represents.

• A portion of the resolution reads: “The Alabama House Republican Caucus urges the citizens of this state and our nation to treat the presentation of the American flag, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the playing of the national anthem with a sacred dignity out of respect for the freedoms that these symbols represent, and in honor of the brave men and women who fought and died protecting such freedoms, and to find other meaningful and productive ways to bring attention to issues of concern, as noble as they may be.”

• The resolution calling for construction of an impenetrable wall along the U.S./ Mexico border was offered by State Rep. Will Ainsworth (R – Guntersville) and urges Congress to quickly fund and commence the project.

• Our nation’s borders are not simply suggestions that can be ignored and violated on a whim, but, instead, they are vital security checkpoints that must be secured, closed, and regulated against those who wish to do harm to our citizens and our economy.

• We must take strong and public actions against those who would break our laws with their simple presence, and construction of the border wall is the first and most important step in that effort.

• An Alabama-based company is among a handful that is building a prototype border wall for consideration by the Customs and Border Protection Agency.

• A portion of the resolution reads: “The members of the Alabama House Republican Caucus, call upon the U.S. Congress to support, fund, and help quickly construct the secure border wall that Americans endorsed when they elected Donald Trump as president. “

• Alabama was selected as the site for a $1.6 billion Toyota/Mazda automobile manufacturing facility which will be located in the Huntsville area and directly employ roughly 4,000 workers along with thousands more supplier jobs.

• Since taking control of the Alabama Legislature in 2010, Republicans have worked hard to pass bills that encourage economic development and create an atmosphere conducive to investment.

• To that end, Republicans have placed an emphasis on workforce development and commonsense, pay-as-you-go economic incentives that have helped lead to the lowest unemployment rates in Alabama history.

• Various state agencies participated in General Fund budget hearings to detail their needs for the FY2019 budget. The General Fund is in much better shape than most years thanks to a $93 million carryover from FY2018.

• The Alabama Department of Corrections asked for a $30 million supplement to its current budget and an increase of $50 million for FY2019 in order to improve medical and mental health services for inmates and comply with a pending federal court order.

• The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency requested an increase of $5.9 million with roughly $3.3 million of the amount going toward hiring additional state troopers.

• The Alabama Medicaid Agency reported it will carry forward $53 million to the FY2019 budget as a result of lower than expected costs in the drug program. As a result of the carryover offset, the agency is requesting $757 million, which is less than the $810 million it received in the FY2018 budget.

• The House will hold a “Military and Veterans Day” in the chamber on Tuesday, January 16, with a work calendar that is stacked with bills designed to benefit those who have served or are currently serving in our nation’s armed forces. Among the bills on the calendar are:

• The Veterans Employment Act, which is sponsored by State Rep. Connie Rowe (R – Jasper) and provides incentives to businesses that hire honorably discharged veterans who are currently unemployed. The bill would ensure that the veterans covered by this incentive program would be hired for full time jobs and earn at least $14 per hour. Because the program is modeled after the “pay as you go” method of awarding economic incentives, it would have no negative fiscal impact on the budgets.

• The Parks for Patriots Act of 2018, which is sponsored by State Rep. Dickie Drake (R – Leeds) would provide free, year-round admission to all Alabama state parks for all active military personnel and veterans, including members of the National Guard and Reserves. Recently, the Department of Conservation commenced the Parks for Patriots initiative as an administrative pilot program at the suggestion of House Republicans, and this bill would permanently establish the program into state law.

• In addition, the House will hold a ceremony honoring the three living Congressional Medal of Honor winners who currently reside in Alabama – Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie Adkins of Opelika, Gary Michael Rose of Huntsville, and James Michael Sprayberry of Titus. The CMoH is our nation’s highest military honor for bravery.

2018-01-11T17:08:07+00:00 Agenda|0 Comments