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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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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
Blog

Alabama Legislature passes ETF budget, goes home without approving bills on payday lending, execution drug secrecy

Alabama lawmakers passed a $5.9 billion Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget without a pay raise for K-12 teachers just before the 2014 regular session ended Thursday night. The House voted 54-45 to agree to the compromise budget that the Senate approved Tuesday. That leaves Gov. Robert Bentley, who urged the Legislature to approve a 2 percent [...]
Date
April 3, 2014
Author
Chris Sanders
Blog

Bill to end lifetime SNAP, TANF bans still alive but loses procedural vote in Alabama House

A bill to allow people convicted of a drug-related felony to regain eligibility for food assistance or cash welfare benefits in Alabama suffered a setback Wednesday when it failed to clear a procedural hurdle in the state House. The House voted 55-43 Wednesday to consider SB 303, sponsored by Sen. Linda Coleman, D-Birmingham. That majority [...]
Date
April 2, 2014
Author
Chris Sanders
Blog

Alabama Senate committee amends execution drug secrecy bill, approves HIV drug redistribution bill

An Alabama Senate committee Wednesday unanimously approved a bill that would keep the identities of people involved in carrying out state-sanctioned executions secret in most instances. But the Senate Health Committee amended the bill to divulge the names of companies that manufacture or supply lethal injection drugs if a judge orders their release. HB 379, [...]
Date
March 19, 2014
Author
M.J. Ellington
Blog

Final shape of General Fund, education budgets unclear as plans advance in Alabama Legislature

Alabama’s prison system would get slightly less money next year under a General Fund (GF) budget that cleared the Senate’s GF budget committee 9-1 Wednesday. Even though the committee’s budget includes more prison funding than the House-passed version, total GF support for the Department of Corrections next year still would fall by about $2 million, [...]
Date
March 19, 2014
Author
Carol Gundlach
Blog

Payday loan database wins Alabama Senate committee’s approval

A statewide payday loan database moved one step closer to becoming a reality Tuesday when an Alabama Senate committee voted 6-0 for it. HB 145, sponsored by Rep. Patricia Todd, D-Birmingham, now moves to the full Senate, which could vote on the plan later this week. The House voted 93-1 for the bill last week. Committee chairman [...]
Date
March 18, 2014
Author
Stephen Stetson
Blog

Alabama House passes payday loan database bill

The Alabama House voted 93-1 Thursday for a bill to create a statewide common database of payday loans. HB 145, sponsored by Rep. Patricia Todd, D-Birmingham, now goes to the Senate. Todd’s bill would make it easier to enforce a current state law that prohibits borrowers from taking out more than $500 in payday loans [...]
Date
March 13, 2014
Author
Chris Sanders
Blog

Alabama House committee votes to lift individuals’ scholarship credit cap under Accountability Act

An Alabama House committee Wednesday approved a bill to erase a size limit on the state income tax credit that an individual can claim for contributions to groups that grant scholarships under the Alabama Accountability Act. HB 558, sponsored by Rep. Chad Fincher, R-Semmes, moves to the House. The Accountability Act, enacted last year, provides [...]
Date
March 12, 2014
Author
M.J. Ellington