My first committee meeting of the day was the General Fund meeting. We debated and gave favorable report to all five bills on the agenda. These were non-controversial bills addressing a range of issues. Readers can review committee meeting agenda and the bills we debated at this link.
I held several meetings throughout the morning concerning other legislative items that we will see in the days and weeks ahead.
The Military Stability and Job Creation Committee met via a telephone conference this afternoon to discuss a variety of topics including the possibility of future BRACs and the impact of Sequestration on our state. The current administration and members of the Joint Chiefs have indicated support for a future BRAC (2017, 2019?). The Senate and House Armed Services Committee have also shown movement towards supporting another BRAC evolution. The Commission continues to work with stakeholders across the state and in the legislature to ensure Alabama is poised for success.
My next committee meeting was the County and Municipal Government Committee meeting. We debated two House Bills relating to the recent Alabama Supreme Court ruling - Bynum v. City of Oneonta - regarding a 2009 law and cities voting on alcohol sales in dry counties. More details can be found on the ruling and subsequent need for legislation at this link.
Wednesdays are normally committee days but this week the Senate will be session three days. We went into session at 3:30 this afternoon with a plan to debate several bills. Our process was slowed down due to the mood of the minority party being soured, a result of the Birmingham Water Works legislation having been voted out of a Senate Committee earlier today. This legislation has a storied past and impacted the Senate's effectiveness in years past. There were other dynamics at play in the Senate today but in the end we were able to pass one bill - SB38, allowing counties and municipal governments more flexibility in the use of funds collected for garbage and solid waste fees.
A full Senate dinner with all 35 members is scheduled for later this evening, something we’ve done a couple of times in the past. I always look forward to breaking bread with my colleagues in a relaxed environment...although this could be as awkward as any family reunion.
The Senate adjourned at 5:00 PM and will reconvene tomorrow at 10 AM.
Semper Fi - Bill