God is Great – this is Holy Week and my prayer is that each of you will be able to slow down a little, spend quality time this Easter with family and friends that are present with you (i.e. get off social media...other than posting the obligatory Easter Sunday photos of course!). And remember, there is Hope for He is Risen.
Beer is Good – if you’ve not heard we passed the “Growler” bill last week. This bill has been called a game changer for the growing craft brew industry in Alabama. It allows consumers to purchase a growler or other packaged products from the actual brewery for off-site consumption. The law should go into effect on June 1st. More on that as we get closer to the date.
People are Crazy – please don’t take offense here, I’m not talking about you when I say people are crazy (I’m talking about some other folks, seriously) and beyond the fact that this line completes the lyric in the country song, things are truly somewhat crazy here in Montgomery. There is a reason we take a mid-session spring break and hopefully after a week out of session things will have settled down as we have much work to do before us.
With only 12 legislative days remaining when we return, numerous controversial bills remain to be debated. Readers may recall that even back in early January I discussed the RAISE Act and a possible gasoline tax increase. The RAISE Act morphed into the PREP Act which was introduced two weeks ago. As predicted in January, the draft changed substantially, which is why I didn’t want everyone to get worked up over the draft but rather wait for the actual bill to be filed. The gasoline tax was introduced in the House just last week and quickly pushed through a House Committee, awaiting a full vote on the House Floor now.
Other bills of concern include the Prison Bond Bill (which was debated today and carried over) and of course the budgets. The General Fund has passed both bodies and is on the way to the Governor who stated he will veto as it does not fully fund Medicaid (I discussed this in an earlier blog). The Education Budget has passed the House and awaits movement in the Senate Education Budget Committee before coming before the full Senate.
I receive literally hundreds of emails and read each of them and attempt to respond when someone has a question or comment that I may need further clarification on. I want to thank everyone that has provided their opinion on these and other bills throughout the session. Some of you are very concise – “Vote NO” with absolutely no further explanation as to your position. Others click on a link, put in their personal information and hit send on a canned email response – in essence allowing special interest groups communicate the message for them. These are easy to spot after the first two or three emails come in with the exact same message, often including misspellings such as my last name. My favorites are the very detailed emails (not necessarily long, just detailed), providing exactly what portion of the legislation you have concerns with. These are very helpful and at times lead me to questions I'd not considered. If I were grading emails you guys would get an A+!
Thanks again to everyone that takes the time to share their views regarding legislation that affects some aspect of their life. As I’ve said before, I represent the people that sent me to Montgomery, not the people in Montgomery.
Semper Fi - Bill