We passed a handful of bills once session started this morning. A couple I'll comment on include SB459 by Sen Blackwell, an initiative to streamline government created ONE SPOT – Optional Network Election for Single Point Online Transactions. This will be administered by the Alabama Department of Revenue and available for use by both taxpayers and Alabama municipalities and counties at no cost. The intent is to address instances where retailers have to file hundreds of returns and write hundreds of checks for different entities every month.
We also passed HB243 by Rep Collins, an economic development bill for the entertainment industry. This expands on existing law to encourage filming and documentaries in Alabama…Hollywood of the South?
We also passed SB283 by Sen Ward, a bill providing for group insurance coverage of autism spectrum disorder in Alabama.
SB388 by Sen Orr changing the state retirement system for new-hires only passed as well. This was a controversial bill to some but follows suit with other states who realize that we can no longer afford a broad defined benefit plan in these lean years.
The Senate adjourned about 1630. I met with several groups in my office before attending two receptions this evening. I rarely attend receptions but was happy to meet with the Realtors and the Tourism Industry; both supported by local organizations participating in state-wide efforts. It was great seeing so many faces from Limestone and Madison Counties.
Tomorrow is Wednesday and that means committee day. I have four committee meetings, with a total of 12 Bills lined up for tomorrow – starting at 0800. I'm pitching two of the bills. I’ll finish out tonight studying all of these bills.
I was glad to see the cooperation in the Senate today across both parties. We have a lot of work ahead of us – HB159/HB160 which continue to be worked on in committee, the charter schools bill, oh, and the budgets to name just a few. The General Fund budget passed the House late this evening in a 56 – 47 vote…yes, we have a lot of work ahead of us. At least we are finally working.