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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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A victory for justice: Legislature votes to end judicial override in Alabama

UPDATE: Gov. Kay Ivey signed SB 16 into law on April 11, 2017, ending judicial override in all future capital cases in Alabama. The age of judicial override in the United States is about to come to an end. The Alabama House voted 78-19 Tuesday to end the practice, which allows judges to override juries’ [...]
Date
April 4, 2017
Author
Chris Sanders
Blog

Budgets that would do little to boost investments in education, health care advance in Alabama Legislature

Running in place was the emerging theme this week as Alabama lawmakers advanced state budgets that would provide little additional money for education, Medicaid, mental health care and other essential services. Both the Education Trust Fund (ETF) and General Fund (GF) budgets await further action when the Legislature returns from spring break on April 4. [...]
Date
March 16, 2017
Author
Carol Gundlach
Blog

End of judicial override draws closer as Alabama House committee approves Senate bill

The era of judicial override in Alabama death penalty cases came one step closer to an end Wednesday, when the House Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would end the unusual practice. SB 16, sponsored by Sen. Dick Brewbaker, R-Pike Road, now awaits consideration by the full House. The Senate passed the bill 30-1 last month. [...]
Date
March 8, 2017
Author
Chris Sanders
Blog

Momentum to end judicial override in Alabama grows as bills clear committees in House, Senate

The movement to end judicial override in Alabama has won two big victories in the first two weeks of the Legislature’s 2017 regular session. The House Judiciary Committee voted 10-2 Wednesday to approve a bill to end Alabama’s practice of allowing judges to override juries’ sentencing recommendations in death penalty cases. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted [...]
Date
February 15, 2017
Author
Chris Sanders
Blog

Kicking the can: Windfall temporarily cushions shortfalls for Medicaid, other General Fund services in Alabama

The state budget hearings that ended Tuesday made one thing clear: There’s still no long-term answer to Alabama’s budget woes. The state once again likely will use one-time money next year to delay hard decisions about how to provide sustainable funding for vital services like Medicaid, child care and mental health care. And even though [...]
Date
February 9, 2017
Author
Carol Gundlach
Blog

Alabama avoids deep Medicaid cuts. What’s next?

Alabama Medicaid is safe – for now. State lawmakers wrapped up their special session last week with a sigh of relief after approving a one-time solution to stop deep Medicaid cuts. The Legislature agreed to use BP oil spill settlement money to address Medicaid’s $85 million shortfall for 2017 and to give the program another [...]
Date
September 15, 2016
Author
Carol Gundlach
Blog

Lottery bill dead, BP settlement bill still alive in Alabama Legislature

A state lottery bill died, returned to life and then died again in the Alabama Legislature this week. The House voted 64-35 Thursday night for an amended version of SB 3, sponsored by Sen. Jim McClendon, R-Springville, that included revenue earmarks for Medicaid, education, and rural and community fire departments. That move came after the House [...]
Date
August 26, 2016
Author
Chris Sanders
Blog

Lottery bill squeaks through Alabama Senate; BP settlement bill also advances

(The latest: A state lottery bill died, returned to life and then died again in the Alabama Legislature this week. The House voted 64-35 Thursday night for an amended version of SB 3that included revenue earmarks for Medicaid, education, and rural and community fire departments. That move came after the House reconsidered its initial 61-37 vote on [...]
Date
August 26, 2016
Author
Carol Gundlach
Blog

Lottery, BP settlement bills clear Alabama legislative committees as special session on Medicaid funding continues

(Update: The Alabama House voted 91-10 Wednesday to pass the BP settlement bill (HB 36). A Senate committee approved the bill Friday, positioning it for a Senate vote Tuesday. SB 11 lost a procedural vote in the Senate on Thursday, greatly reducing its chances of passage. Senators are expected to debate SB 3 on Friday.) Two [...]
Date
August 19, 2016
Author
Carol Gundlach
Blog

Medicaid cuts loom, payday reform falls just short as Alabama Legislature ends 2016 regular session

The Alabama Legislature’s 2016 regular session, which ended Wednesday, was more notable in many ways for what didn’t happen than for what did. Lawmakers did not agree on a revenue solution to prevent devastating Medicaid cuts that would reduce health care access for hundreds of thousands of children, seniors, and people with disabilities in Alabama. Despite enormous [...]
Date
May 6, 2016
Author
Chris Sanders