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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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Blog

Budgets for FY 2018 fall short of real need

The Alabama Legislature last week passed 2018 state budgets that once again fall short of meeting critical needs. While lawmakers avoided a repeat of last year’s General Fund (GF) crisis, which required a special session to resolve, the new budgets highlight structural flaws that will continue to hinder public services in our state until leaders [...]
Date
January 3, 2018
Author
Carol Gundlach
Blog

Public transportation bill clears Alabama House committee

Arise's new approach to public transportation funding picked up momentum Wednesday as the House Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure Committee approved HB 454, sponsored by Rep. Jack Williams, R-Vestavia Hills. The bill would create the Alabama Public Transportation Trust Fund as a repository for future state appropriations to expand public transit options in the state. The bill now [...]
Date
April 19, 2017
Author
Jim Carnes
Blog

‘Ban the box’ bill clears first hurdle, wins Alabama Senate committee approval

Alabama lawmakers took a first step Wednesday toward enacting a policy that would make it easier for people to re-enter the workforce after serving their time for a criminal offense. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 6-2 for SB 200, which would create a “ban the box” policy for many state and local government jobs. The [...]
Date
April 12, 2017
Author
Chris Sanders
Blog

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’ [...]
Issue
Criminal Justice
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. [...]
Issue
Criminal Justice
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 [...]
Issue
Criminal Justice
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