I arrived in Montgomery Monday morning to attend budget meetings. I encourage readers to view the slides linked here from the Legislative Fiscal Office and the Governor's proposed budgets as this is the information that I will work from in making my decisions. The budgets will remain a challenge as we find was to identify and fund the state’s priorities. My pledge to you is to work for and pass realistic, sustainable budgets.
On Tuesday the Lt. Governor gaveled the 2014 legislature into session...surprisingly, a total of 177 bills were introduced in the Senate and 241 in the House...on the first day of session; so much for less government, huh?
As is the normal pattern, my Wednesday’s are filled with meetings. I started the morning with a Senate Republican Caucus meeting followed by two committee meetings. The first committee meeting was for Education Policy where we passed two bills out of committee – SB7 addressing unfunded mandates for local school systems and SB38 addressing the State Department of Education’s relationship with Private Schools. I supported both bills.
The next committee meetings held was for the General Fund Committee. This will be a very challenging year for the General Fund. We worked through several bills, carrying a few over, amending some and passing some. Of note we discussed SB44 which will enable “Crowd Funding” for new start-ups in Alabama.
During lunch I met with the AL GOP in Montgomery and filed qualifying paperwork for the 2014 elections. It continues to be my honor to serve as the Senator for the Alabama 2nd District and I am truly thankful for your continued support. You can read more about the re-election campaign here.
After lunch I attend a third committee meeting – Commerce Transportation and Utilities, or CTU. We discussed several bills in the committee, of note passing out of committee SB9, the “3 Foot Law”’ for vehicles passing bicycles at a safe distance on Alabama roadways.
The Senate went into session at 4 PM this afternoon for introduction of bills and for second readings of bills passed in today's committee hearings.
At 8 tomorrow morning I will chair the Legislative Contract Review Committee meeting (read this month’s agenda here). The Senate will go back into session and we will debate, and perhaps pass the first bills of the 2014 session.