The Alabama Legislature completed the 10th and 11th Legislative Days this week.
Teacher Recruitment and Retention Act (HB77) sponsored by Rep. Baker was unanimously approved by the House Ways and Means Education committee, sending it next to the House floor for approval.
This bill would create a new retirement benefit, called Tier 3. Tier 3 allows teachers to retire after 30 years, meaning if a teacher starts work at 22, he or she could retire at age 52; they can accrue their sick leave for conversion upon retirement. If signed into law, all Tier 2 members would be automatically converted to Tier 3 and then would have until June 1, 2020 to opt-out of Tier 3 and return to Tier 2. They could not decide later to go back to Tier 3. All new hires after October 1, 2020 will be Tier 3 members.
Rep. Poole, Chairman of the Ways & Means Education Committee took three weeks to review all the data surrounding this bill. During those weeks he worked with CLAS, SSA, AASB, AEA, and RSA to make sure him and his committee understood all the data. Tier 3 will save money for the ETF - $1.5 billion over the next 30 years, according to RSA actuarial projections, and is one piece of the puzzle to improving the teacher shortage in Alabama.
Finance & Taxation Education Committee did not have any bills CLAS is tracking on the agenda, but Sen. Orr took the committee meeting time to discuss the upcoming ETF budget discussions. He wanted committee member to think about big decision items
- $35 million funding moved to the ETF as recommended in the Governor’s budget (Read More). Orr asked members if they wanted to keep CHIP funding in the ETF. (Note: CHIP has always been funded through the General Fund.) When Orr was asked by the Governor, he said he was not in favor. As for the General Fund in FY2021, there is an extra $106 million in the budget that could cover the cost of CHIP. Orr painted the whole picture for committee members. The lottery could be in play in FY21, and other bills could be filed to generate resources for the General Fund. If we have a sharp economic decline, the ETF would be hurt the hardest, because of the revenue sources sales and income tax. He asked the committee to consider it all and make a decision.
- Budget Stabilization Fund transfer of $55 million – Governor Ivey recommended that the whole $55 million be put into the Budget Stabilization Fund (BSF). The BSF currently has $232 million and is considered full at $475 million. The concern is once the money is placed in the fund it can’t be touched unless proration is declared. Sen. Orr asked committee members if they want to place $55 million into BSF or use it. Sen Orr wants committee member to submit their education priorities to use the $55 million, which he prefers be used for one-time, non-reoccurring expenses.
Orr mentioned SB196 the Advancement and Technology fund appropriation. The total amount for K-12 is $198 million and Higher Ed is $73M. Systems’ amounts are listed out in the bill and funding is by ADM by formula. The funds are authorized to be used for: repairs and deferred maintenance; classroom instructional support; insurance for facilities; transportation; acquisition/purchase of education technology or school security.
Before adjourning Sen. Orr reemphasized he seeks the guidance from all committee members, and reminded them to let him know their thoughts on CHIP and BSF.
- HB349 (Collins) Under existing law, a child is defined as an individual under 18 years of age, or under 21 years of age and before the juvenile court for a delinquency matter arising before that individual's 18th birthday. This bill would further define the term child to include an individual under 19 years of age who is before the juvenile court for a child in need of supervision matter. Under existing law, with exceptions, a child between the ages of six and is required to attend a public or private school and may enroll in public school if the child is less than years of age on the date school opens. This bill would provide that an individual who is 18 years of age and otherwise qualified to attend public school may not be denied admittance to the school based solely on his or her age. Passed the House Judiciary Committee gave the bill a favorable report as amended. The amendment deletes "18 years of age and otherwise qualified to attend" and replaces it with : “under 19 years of age and on track to graduate from”
- HB418 (Scott) Sales and Use Tax, simplified seller use tax on sellers selling goods without a physical presence in the state, affiliated nexus repealed, and increases the received a favorable report as amended from Finance & Taxation General Fund Committee. An amendment was offered by the Alabama County Commission Association. The amendment states, “Effective with taxes collected beginning on January 1, 2020, 25% of the portion of the proceeds allocated to the county general fund shall be distributed to the local boards of education. In all counties having more than one local board of education, such allocation shall be distributed within such county on the same basis of the total calculated costs for the Foundation Program.” This bill now moves to the full House for consideration.
- SB5 (Allen) Athlete agents, prior to signing an agency contract, allow certain expenses to be paid to student athlete or the family of the athlete. The bill received a favorable report and awaits final passage.
Bills Passed the House
- HB183 (Scott) – SSUT – Would provide for update to the amnesty and class action provisions for eligible sellers and clarify transactions for which simplified sellers use tax cannot be collected and remitted. The bill passed the House unanimously and is referred to the Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund committee.
- HB339 (Ledbetter) – Pledge of Allegiance- Would require the pledge of allegiance be conducted at the beginning of each school day. The bill passed the House unanimously and now it moves to the Senate.
Bills Passed the Senate
- SB140 (Whatley) Sex Education – The bill would revise the focus of the content, course materials, and instruction provided to public school students in any program or curriculum that includes sex education or the human reproductive process.
- SB258 (Livingston) - Pledge of Allegiance – Pledge of allegiance, be conducted at the beginning of each school day, requires local school board to allow. Sen. Figures offered an amendment which states that students who refuses to participate in the pledge will not be penalized. The bill as amended passed the Senate unanimously and now moves to the House.
- SB255 (Melson) – School Resource Officers – Under existing law, a local board of education may hire persons as school security personnel and may contract with a local chief of police or sheriff to employ school resource officers. Also under existing law, a local school board of education may authorize school security personnel and school resource officers to carry a firearm while on duty if they satisfy certain qualifications. This bill would provide that if a local board of education hires a retired law enforcement officer to serve as school security personnel, the board may authorize the retired law enforcement officer to carry a firearm on duty if he or she meets the following requirements: (1) is retired in good standing from a federal, state, or local law enforcement agency with at least years of law 25 enforcement experience; (2) has successfully completed active shooter training approved by the Alabama State Law Enforcement Agency; (3) annually completes and passes the firearm re-qualification required of law enforcement officers by the Alabama Peace Officers' Standards and Training Commission; and (4) is trained in the appropriate use of a non-lethal weapon and while on duty carries that weapon. The bill passed unanimously and now moves to the House.
Bills Introduced and Added to Tracking:
- HB439 (Wadsworth) – Provide for a one-time lump-sum addition to the retirement benefits of certain retirees and beneficiaries of the Teachers’ Retirement System. The bill is assigned to House Ways & Means Education Committee.
- HB449 (Gray) – Authorizes local boards of education to offer yoga to students in grades K to 12.
- SB288 (Smitherman) – Relating to Retirement; provide for a funded $800 one-time lump sum addition to the retirement benefits of certain retirees and beneficiaries of the Teachers’ Retirement System. Assigned to Senate Finance & Taxation Education Committee.
- SB295 (Orr) – To establish the Alabama Industry Recognized and Registered Apprenticeship Program Act; to establish the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship to register and certify registered and industry recognized apprenticeship programs; to develop the Alabama Registered and Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Program.
- SB299 (Whatley) To create the Education Retirees’ Trust Fund for Cost-of-Living Adjustments for the purpose of providing education retirees with the cost-of-living.
- SB304 (Chambliss) Under existing law, the State Superintendent of Education is authorized to issue emergency teaching certificates, which are valid for one year, to certain individuals when otherwise certified teachers are not available. The bill would rename emergency certificates as urgent certificates, would extend the validity of an urgent teaching certificate to two years, with the ability of being renewed twice, for a maximum validity of six years, and would make technical corrections to update the language of the amended code sections.
Tuesday, April 23, CLAS will host Hill Day. We will have Sen. Garlan Gudger (Cullman) and Rep. Proncey Robertson (Mt. Hope) speak to our group. We look forward to seeing everyone.
Committee meetings were not posted at the time this update was written.
Convene Report - The House will convene Tuesday, April 23 at 1:00, and the Senate at 3:00 p.m. the same day.
View All Bills CLAS is Tracking