My second committee meeting of the day was Banking and Insurance where we debated and passed three bills out of committee. SB124 proposing shortening the time frame for redemption on foreclosed properties, SB147, an insurance department bill that standardizes the time frame for releasing potentially confidential information resulting from an audit of an insurance company, and SB153 relating to automobile rental companies and their ability to offer insurance with the rental – something currently being done in Alabama but this legislation clarifies the rental person is not required to be a licensed insurance agent.
The Senate went into session at 4:30 this afternoon to debate a 10 bill Special Order Calendar. A few of the bills on the calendar were carried over but the Senate debated and passed several non-controversial bills. The final bill of the evening was the Charter Schools Bill.
The Charter Schools bill was passed by the House in a 58 – 41 vote. The House added a couple of amendments requiring the Senate to vote to concur; the final Senate vote was 24 – 11.
I, along with a couple other Senators expressed concerns regarding the ability of virtual charter schools being allowed in the legislation. I support virtual, or online courses (this is done now in schools across the state) I do not support a full-up, K-12 virtual charter school. The original legislation as proposed in the Senate included a virtual charter schools option. This was removed prior to the bill moving to the Senate. Concerns began to arise when talk of the possibility of virtual charter schools being allowed because the legislation did not contain prohibitive language. I asked that an amendment with prohibitive language be added during the floor debate in the House but was unsuccessful in my request. As the bill had already passed the Senate our only other option was to ask that the Governor consider adding an executive amendment including prohibitive language. Removal of the virtual charter schools language was key to my support. If a door was left open, allowing them as indicated in this report, I will work with others and attempt to close the door. Stay tuned, more to follow one way or another here.
I have committee meetings in the morning, starting with Transportation and Energy. The Senate goes into session at 9:30.
We had several special visitors at the State House today; I was able to visit with the Limestone County Schools Superintendent and Country Music legend, Hank Williams, Jr who was in town to support legislation regarding hunting.
Semper Fi - Bill