Good morning! Lots of news today. Here is your Daily News for Wednesday, March 7.
1. Big News: Historic Tax Credits announced
- The Daniel Pratt Gin Shop in Prattville, the Saint James Hotel in Selma and the Protective Life Center in Birmingham are three of the twelve historic properties set to to see new life thanks to a state tax credit.
- Other projects approved for the Alabama Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit include the Howell School in Dothan, Merchant’s National Bank in Mobile, the Family Services Laundry Building in Birmingham, the Fain Theater in Wetumpka, and Womack’s Hardware in Monroeville.
- It’s a big deal for these communities and the state.
- First enacted in 2013, the tax credit has recently been responsible for more than 50 major renovations throughout Alabama, including the antebellum Staples-Take building in downtown Mobile and the Redmond Hotel in Birmingham. According to the Alabama Historical Commission, the total investment on those projects was $334 million.
- Read my exclusive report on it at ALDailyNews.com.
2. Sessions sues California over ‘sanctuary cities’ policies
- Attorney General Jeff Sessions has sued to block California laws that extend protections for illegal immigrants.
- The Associated Press calls the Justice Department’s move “the most aggressive move yet in its push to force so-called sanctuary cities and states to cooperate with immigration authorities.”
- Read the full story here.
3. For school safety: money and time
- Gov. Kay Ivey yesterday established a special council to study the issue of school safety, particularly as it relates to gun violence.
- She is tasking the council with reporting policy recommendations, to include legislation, by April 30.
- That’s long after lawmakers will have left the State House. The Regular Session is likely to conclude late this month.
- Ivey also announced her support for legislation attached to this year’s education budget that allows school districts to use as much as $41 million in innovation and technology funds for security upgrades. Cameras, for example.
- With various gun and school safety proposals being floated in the way of the Florida shooting, the governor’s announcement seems to be aimed at calming everyone down and attempting to think the issue through rather than rush to pass a new law.
- One proposal that had been gaining momentum was Rep. Allen Farley’s bill to allow school districts to train and deputize “sky marshal” type security teams.
- Read more in The Montgomery Advertiser.
4. What happened at the State House?
Economic Development / Ethics
- The House spent most of its time debating the Department of Commerce’s bill to ensure site selectors and chamber of commerce officials don’t have to register as lobbyists.
- To hear the debate, on the House Floor and on Twitter, you’d have thought this is the most corrupt bill ever written. To see the vote (78-7), you’d know that most lawmakers understand the problem facing the economic development community and want to fix it.
- Read Brian Lyman’s story on the debate and the vote in today’s Montgomery Advertiser.
- As I reported previously, prosecutors and policymakers in the Attorney General’s office had concerns about the Commerce bill originally and wanted to tighten up the language to maintain strict ethical standards. The two offices worked out an amendment that satisfied prosecutors’ concerns, and that got adopted on the floor.
- That didn’t stop the Twitterati from condemning the bill as corrupt, including some mean, personal attacks against the bill’s sponsor that have no place in a public policy debate among grown ups.
- The House passed Rep. Chris Sells’ bill to increase penalties for those convicted of killing law enforcement officers and children.
- Not for nothing, debate on the bill saw the return of the one and only Rep. Alvin Holmes to the well. Mr. Holmes routinely speaks out on law enforcement issues, but this is the first time I’d seen him come to the mic this session.
- Sen. Tom Whatley and Rep. Joe Lavvorn’s bill to enact stricter standards on restaurant grease traps passed the House. The bill will go back to the Senate for consideration because changes were made in the House.
How do you solve a problem like the Lieutenant Governor?
- The Senate debated but eventually balked at a proposed constitutional amendment that would change the position of Lt. Governor by taking it out of the Legislature and making it exclusively a part of the Executive Branch.
- The bill stems from the awkward transfer of power that occurred when Gov. Bentley resigned last year. Because the Lt. Governor is a dual legislative and executive role, there are separation of power issues.
- Talking through the bill, lawmakers discovered one funny possible consequence of the bill. Because the Governor and Lt. Governor would run on the same ticket AFTER the primary, you could end up with some interesting pairings. Imagine the Roy Moore-Luther Strange 2006 ticket!
5. What’s happening today?
On Wednesdays we wear pink and go to committee meetings.
There’s a lot happening in committee today…
- The House Ways & Means General Fund will meet to take up the General Fund budget. For all the talk about no drama with budgets this year, there could be some issues with all the goodies the Senate added to the general fund.
- The House Judiciary Committee will meet to consider a host of bills, including Sen. Tripp Pittman’s proposal to allow the state to use nitrogen gas to complete executions, Rep. Jack Williams’ human trafficking crackdown, Sen. Roger Smitherman’s racial profiling bill, and multiple juvenile justice reform bills.
- The House Constitution, Campaigns & Elections Committee will consider Sen. Rusty Glover’s bill allowing the governor to fill short term vacancies and Rep. Arnold Mooney’s Ten Commandments bill.
- The House Ways & Means Education Committee is meeting to consider a revision to the Simplified Sellers Use Tax Program. But, Sen. Clay Scofield’s Rural Broadband bill is not on the announced agenda. I’m told the grants vs. tax credits question is still being worked out.
- The Education Trust Fund is up in the Senate Finance & Taxation Education Committee. Expect them to make quick work of it and have it to the floor as soon as tomorrow.
- The Senate Judiciary Committee has a big slate of bills, including Sen. Cam Ward’s big juvenile justice reform initiative and domestic violence legislation from Reps. Pettus and Harbison.
- Rep. Paul Lee’s bill to provide for single point of filing for motor vehicle fuel taxes is up in the Senate Transportation & Energy Committee.
- See? That’s a lot and it’s probably not even half the committee meetings. Here’s a full Senate committee list and here’s a full House committee list.
If you watch one thing today…
Watch this video of a Eufaula basketball player talking about the life lessons he has learned from his coach. Then wait to see his coach’s reaction. I wish I got it like this young man does.
Photo of the day: Hulk Hogan in Dothan
Terry Boulder vs Andre ,first time ever in Dothan Alabama farm center,I was the Southern Heavyweight Champion,that night after the match I dove into the Sheraton pool with the belt on ,brother around August 1977. HH
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Gin Shop, Saint James Hotel, Protective Life Center among next to receive state historic tax credits
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – House approves grease trap regulations after drowning
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ivey creates school safety council after Florida shooting
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – House approves lobbying exemption for economic development professionals.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Contributor Todd Stacy: What issues to watch in Alabama Legislature’s second half.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – LEAD Academy charter school sued by AEA.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Trump’s popularity slips in Alabama, but Heart of Dixie still his No. 2 state.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Steve Marshall nabs manufacturing association’s endorsement in Alabama attorney general’s race.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Alabama loves President Trump but his tariffs could cost state millions of dollars and thousand of jobs in soybeans alone.
AL.COM – Gov. Kay Ivey announces Alabama school safety plans.
AL.COM – Sewage sludge train cars in Birmingham to be moved after ‘death smell’ complaints.
AL.COM – Alabama 2nd on list of states with most gun violence.
AL.COM – Tommy Battle answers to young voters on school safety, why he wants to be governor.
AL.COM – Who gets helped by Alabama’s ‘boring and vanilla’ governor’s race
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Armed teachers isn’t the only idea for local school protection.
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – House approves legislation after grease pit drowning.
DOTHAN EAGLE – Bad ideas in the gun debacle
ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER – Columnist Josh Moon: AEA lawsuit could save charter schools.
FLORENCE TIMES DAILY – Consumers will foot part of bill for trade tariffs.
ANNISTON STAR – State officials get earful in Hoover on Medicaid work requirement.
ANNISTON STAR – Torture in Alabama’s death chamber.
WASHINGTON POST – Gary Cohn, Trump’s top economic adviser, to resign amid differences on trade policy.
NEW YORK TIMES – Trump Administration Sues California Over Immigration Laws
Front pages (images link to newspaper websites, which you should visit and patronize)