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Public policy should make life better for everyone, not just a select few. Throughout the year, Arise tracks a range of state and federal policy proposals and assesses what they would mean for Alabamians who are struggling to make ends meet. Our blog provides quick updates on these proposals and offers tips on what you can do to help build an Alabama where all people have an opportunity to reach their full potential.

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Prison reform bill would end Alabama’s food assistance ban for former drug offenders

The sweeping prison reform bill that the Alabama Senate passed Thursday was amended to include one of Arise’s legislative priorities: ending the state’s SNAP and TANF eligibility bans for people with a past felony drug conviction. Senators voted 31-2 for SB 67, sponsored by Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster. The measure now goes to the House, [...]
Date
April 2, 2015
Author
Carol Gundlach
Blog

HIV medication redistribution bill wins Alabama House committee approval

Pharmacies that distribute HIV medications for or in HIV clinics could redistribute certain unopened drugs under a bill approved Thursday by the House Health Committee. HB 247, sponsored by Rep. Patricia Todd, D-Birmingham, awaits action in the full House. An identical bill passed the House 99-0 last year but died when the Senate adjourned without [...]
Date
April 2, 2015
Author
Jim Carnes
Blog

Plan to write ETF spending limit into state constitution wins Alabama Senate panel’s approval

The Rolling Reserve Act’s education spending limit would be written into the Alabama Constitution under a measure that the state Senate’s education budget committee approved 8-4 Wednesday. SB 248, sponsored by Sen. Trip Pittman, R-Montrose, now awaits action by the full Senate. Pittman, who chairs the Senate’s education budget committee, defended his proposal from criticism [...]
Date
April 1, 2015
Author
Kimble Forrister
Blog

Bill to require report on tax breaks in Alabama moves closer to becoming law

Alabamians could learn far more about the cost and effectiveness of state tax breaks under legislation that won unanimous support from the House’s education budget committee Wednesday. SB 119, sponsored by Sen. Bill Hightower, R-Mobile, passed the Senate 30-0 last month and now awaits action by the full House. By shedding light on billions of [...]
Date
April 1, 2015
Author
Kimble Forrister
Blog

Payday lending reform bill clears Alabama Senate committee

Interest rates on payday loans in Alabama would fall by more than half under a compromise payday loan reform bill that won approval in an Alabama Senate committee Wednesday. SB 110, sponsored by Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, now awaits action by the full Senate. Only one committee member – Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster – voted [...]
Date
April 1, 2015
Author
Stephen Stetson
Blog

Six things to know about the Accountability Act changes that the Alabama Senate passed

A bill that would expand tax credits under the Alabama Accountability Act (AAA) passed 20-14 in the state Senate on Tuesday night. SB 71, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, now goes to the House. Below are six major aspects of the AAA that would change under SB 71: (1) More tax [...]
Date
March 31, 2015
Author
Chris Sanders
Blog

Testimony from Arise’s Kimble Forrister on proposed Accountability Act changes

Arise’s Kimble Forrister testified before a state Senate committee Wednesday, March 11, 2015, about SB 71. The bill would make numerous changes to the Alabama Accountability Act, which provides state tax breaks for donations to certain groups that give scholarships to pay for private school tuition. Here's the full text of Forrister’s prepared remarks: “Alabama [...]
Date
March 11, 2015
Author
Kimble Forrister
Blog

Four things to know about Alabama’s 2016 funding challenges

It’s the latest verse of a decades-old song: Alabama faces yet another funding shortfall next year for vital services like Medicaid, mental health care and corrections. Here are four things to know about the budget challenges facing the Legislature during the 2015 regular session that began Tuesday. (1) Alabama’s revenues for the budgets that fund [...]
Date
March 4, 2015
Author
Chris Sanders
Blog

General Fund budget, changes to Alabama’s landlord-tenant law enacted

Next year’s General Fund (GF) budget became law Thursday night when the Alabama House ended the 2014 regular session without considering Gov. Robert Bentley’s proposed amendment to it. Bentley’s changes to the $1.8 billion GF budget were enacted automatically when the House adjourned. Check out AL.com’s report to learn more about Thursday’s action. Bentley still must decide [...]
Date
April 4, 2014
Author
Chris Sanders
Blog

Alabama Legislature OKs new requirements for TANF recipients, doesn’t end lifetime SNAP, TANF bans for people with felony drug conviction

People convicted of a drug-related felony will remain ineligible for food assistance or cash welfare benefits in Alabama after the state House adjourned Thursday night without passing a bill to end the state’s lifetime eligibility bans for them. Lawmakers approved several other bills related to public benefits this week, including a requirement for some applicants [...]
Date
April 3, 2014
Author
Chris Sanders