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We have reached the half-way point this session. The Alabama Legislature has completed 15 Legislative days.  You may start seeing things speed up during the remaining 15 days. There is discussion among legislative leaders the remaining weeks will be 3-day weeks, meaning the legislature will meet Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, in hopes of finishing the first week of June. 

SB199 (Orr) ETF Budget was the headliner this week. This year's $7.1 billion budget is the state's largest ever. Thursday, the Senate ETF budget passed by a vote of 28-2. The Senate ETF budget includes the following:

  • 4% pay raise for PreK-14 education employees
  • First Class Pre-K: $26.8 million increase
  • Dual enrollment scholarship program: $1 million increase
  • Technology Coordinators: $311,023 increase
  • Current Units: $3 million increase
  • School Nurses: $1 million increase
  • NBCT: $300,000 increase
  • Jobs for Alabama Graduates (JAG): $500,000 increase
  • Divisors lowered in grades 4-6 from 21.03 to 20.43
  • Supercomputer Authority: $4 million increase will allow all public schools and public libraries that want broadband services and offer wi-fi to do so.

Foundation Program (all increases from FY19)

  • Textbooks $75/ADM
  • Classroom Materials and Supplies $600/unit
  • Technology $350/unit
  • Professional Development $100/unit
  • Library Enhancement $200/unit

New Funding

  • CLAS Certified Instructional Leader (CIL) - $548,000
  • Bullying Prevention Pilot Project - $1.75 million – State Superintendent shall distribute grants to local education agencies after the LEA submits a grant application seeking to develop and implement evidence-based practices to promote a school environment free of harassment, intimidation, violence, and threats of violence. The first grant shall be to Birmingham City Board of Education.
  • Computer Science
  • New Schools for Alabama: $500,000 to recruit charter schools into the state.

When the budget came out of committee Tuesday, transportation was fully funded, but Thursday on the Senate floor an amendment increased the Rural Broadband Grant Program $10 million. $6 million from transportation and $4 million from ARI was reallocated to the Rural Broadband Grant Program totaling $30 million. According to Sen. Orr this amendment was requested by Sen. Marsh.

The $35 million for CHIPS was removed from the Senate ETF Budget. $55 million was not deposited into the Budget Stabilization Fund, instead was appropriated to various programs throughout the budget.

Sen. Garlan Gudger and Sen. Rodger Smitherman sponsored an amendment which passed and added funding for education retirees. The amendment is a conditional appropriation providing for a one-time lump-sum bonus of $400 to retirees of the Teacher's Retirement System (TRS), conditioned upon SB288 or HB439 being signed into law, the availability of funds, the recommendation of the Finance Director, and approval of the Governor.

SB199 and other education budget bills now move to the House Ways & Means Education Committee, where line-items will change. CLAS will keep you up-to-date on all the changes when they happen.

Committee Meetings

  • SB155 (Ward) Juvenile Justice – would implement recommendation of the Alabama Juvenile Justice Task Force from 2018 and would substantially revise provisions relating to juvenile justice system; would expand early intervention prior to court involvement; would require development of a statewide detention risk assessment tool for pre-adjudication detention decisions and would establish standards for informal adjustments for certain youth; would provide for video detention hearings under certain conditions; would remove assessment of fines or court costs against children under certain conditions while maintaining the ability to assess them against the parents of those children; would provide risk and needs assessment tools to aid courts in determining when placement in the Department of Youth Services is necessary; would require local boards of education to inform parents of services available relating to absenteeism and other school-related misconduct and would require the Alabama Department of Education to require each local board of education to annually develop, approve, and submit multi-disciplinary agreements in collaboration with community stakeholders relating to appropriate responses to school-based offenses, court referrals, and accountability; creates the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Fund; create the Juvenile Justice Fund Oversight committee; required Administrative Office of Court DYS to develop, adopt, and validate a risk and needs assessment to identify a child’s risk to reoffend; provides courts discretion as to whether or not a child should be subject to registration or notification as a sex offender under certain conditions. Juvenile Judges were allowed time to voice their opposition to the bill. Two judges shared real-world examples and the impact this bill would have on judges. Sen. Cam Ward, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee and sponsor of the bill adjourned the committee meeting, with no amendments or vote on the bill. Sen. Ward made it known he wants to continue discussions in the Senate while the House works on getting the bill out of the House.
  • HB41 (Stringer) Vaping Bill - Prohibits alternative nicotine product retailers and manufacturers from advertising alternative nicotine products around schools and churches. The bill was passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and now moves to final consideration in the Senate.
  • HB108 (Baker) Alabama Industry Recognized and Registered Apprenticeship Program Act - Creates the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship to certify registered and industry-recognized apprenticeship programs in the state in lieu of the federal office of apprenticeship that currently administers state registered apprenticeship programs. This bill would increase apprenticeship tax credit; increase aggregate apprenticeship tax credit; provide per capita incentive tax credit for hiring in school youth apprentice; and extend the apprenticeship tax credit through 2025. The bill received a favorable report as substituted from House Ways and Means Education Committee.
  • SB311 (Marsh) Alabama School Choice and Student Opportunity Act – local revenue follows child from non-charter public to public charter school. Received a favorable report with two amendments from Senate Education Policy Committee.
  • SB304 (Chambliss) Emergency Certificate Extended – 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. The bill received a favorable report from Senate Education Policy Committee.
  • HB462 (Easterbrook) Public high school career technical programs, local boards of education authorized to use any available facilities board determines better suited than existing facilities, notwithstanding State Building Code or other building codes.
  • HB506 (Estes) Provisional teaching certificates - length of time for which emergency certificate is valid is extended from one year to two years.
  • SB140 (Whatley) Sex education - K-12 schools, content and course material revised. Now the bill moves to the House floor for consideration.
  • SB258 (Livingston) Pledge of allegiance – Required to be conducted at the beginning of each school day, received a favorable report.
  • SB90 (Scofield) Broadband Accessibility – would amend the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Act to expand the definition of an “unserved area” eligible for grant funding, increase the percentage of project costs eligible for grant funding, and broaden the permitted use of other federal and state support. After receiving a favorable report with a vote of 10-0, it is currently pending its third reading.

     

Bills that Passed the House

  • HB400 (Shedd) Broadband Using Electric Easement Accessibility Act – Would allow electricity providers to offer broadband services and use their existing infrastructure to access areas that don’t have high-speed internet service.
  • HB291 (Garrett) Religious Release Time - Authorizes the local board of education to allow released time for religious instruction off campus for elective credit.
  • HB216 (Faulkner) Computer Science – K-12 schools, phase in of computer science courses required, funding for teacher training and certification provided, State Administer position created within Dept. of Education, ACHE to create scholarships for preservice teachers, and Computer Science Education task force created.
  • HB159 (Lee) Bathroom Bill – Reduces the required number of restroom fixtures at public high school sports stadiums for each sex based on seating occupancy.

Bills that Passed the Senate

  • SB195 (Orr) Supplemental appropriations for fiscal year 2019, from Education Trust Fund and appropriation from the Alabama Board of Nursing Trust Fund to the Alabama Board of Nursing.
  • SB196 (Orr) ATF Appropriations – The total amount for K-12 is $1.2 million and Higher Ed is $73 million. 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.
  • SB295 (Orr) Alabama Industry Recognized and Registered Apprenticeship Program Act, Alabama Office of Apprenticeship created to administer state programs in lieu of federal office, apprenticeship tax credit and aggregate apprenticeship tax credit increases.

Bill Introduced and Added to Tracking

  • SB358 (Scofield) Relating to apprenticeships; to provide that a person who completes an apprenticeship may be granted an occupational license in that trade if the person also meets other requirements, including completion of any required examination with a passing score; to provide that if a licensing authority requires an examination for a license, the authority may not impose higher testing standards upon that person than it does for any other applicant; to allow in-school youth apprentices to work in certain occupations under certain conditions.
  • HB566 (Kitchens) Public K-12 school nutrition to provide that a public-school district may allow its schools to donate surplus non-expired food to a charitable organization for the purpose of redistributing the food to needy students participating in the federal school nutrition programs for consumption at the school or off school grounds.


Next Week

Senate Education Policy Committee will meet Wednesday, May 8 at 1:00 to consider the following:

  • SB8 (Coleman-Madison) Population requirement for city to establish a board of education increased from 5,000 to 15,000, determination of financial capability required
  • HB291 (Garrett) Religious Release Time - Authorizes the local board of education to allow released time for religious instruction off campus for elective credit.

Convene Report – The House will convene at Tuesday, May 7 at 1:00 and the Senate at 3:30 the same day.

 

View All Bills CLAS is Tracking