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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

Alabama’s education budget begins to rebuild, but General Fund struggles put Medicaid at risk

The usual contrast between Alabama’s starving General Fund (GF) budget and its slightly healthier but still inadequate Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget is exceptionally stark this year. Nearly halfway through the Legislature’s 2016 regular session, both major state budgets have begun to move – in one case toward a predictable conclusion, and in the other [...]
Date
March 4, 2016
Author
Carol Gundlach
Blog

Bill to pause executions, create innocence commission clears Alabama Senate committee

Executions would stop in Alabama until at least June 2017 under a bill that the state Senate Judiciary Committee approved 10-0 Wednesday. The measure also would create a special commission to evaluate innocence claims in death penalty cases. (Read The Anniston Star’s coverage for more details.) SB 237, sponsored by Sen. Dick Brewbaker, R-Montgomery, would set up [...]
Date
February 24, 2016
Author
Stephen Stetson
Blog

Payday lending ‘compromise’ bill clears Alabama Senate committee

A bill that its sponsor describes as “a compromise” on payday loan reform emerged from an Alabama Senate committee Wednesday. SB 91, sponsored by Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, is called “Colorado-style reform,” because it models changes to consumer lending laws approved by that state in 2010. The bill now awaits a Senate vote. No other [...]
Date
February 17, 2016
Author
Stephen Stetson
Blog

Same old song: Alabama faces another shortfall for vital services, but lawmakers aren’t eager to raise revenue to prevent cuts

Groundhog Day, the first day of the Alabama Legislature’s 2016 regular session, left advocates for human services feeling a powerful sense of déjà vu. A mere five months ago, the Legislature managed, with small tax increases and large transfers from the Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget, to pass a 2016 General Fund (GF) budget that barely [...]
Date
February 4, 2016
Author
Carol Gundlach
Blog

A budget at last: What got cut, what didn’t, and what’s next for Alabama

Three times proved to be the charm Wednesday night as the Alabama Legislature finally passed a General Fund (GF) budget and accompanying revenue bills. Gov. Robert Bentley signed the budget Thursday morning, a mere two weeks before the start of the 2016 budget year. Tax bills: What passed and what didn’t Alabama faced a GF [...]
Date
September 18, 2015
Author
Carol Gundlach
Blog

Mental health, DHR, courts would face cuts under Alabama House’s General Fund budget

Mental health care, trial courts and the Department of Human Resources (DHR) would be among the vital services suffering cuts next year under the General Fund (GF) budget that the Alabama House passed 59-37 Friday. A Senate committee is set to consider the GF budget Monday. The House’s budget would fund new reforms of Medicaid [...]
Date
September 11, 2015
Author
Chris Sanders
Blog

Alabama House passes cigarette tax increase; business privilege tax measure stalls

The Alabama House voted by narrow margins Thursday to pass several bills to raise revenue for the General Fund (GF) budget that supports Medicaid, mental health care, public safety and other vital services. The House did not vote on the budget but is expected to consider it Friday. The measures included a 25-cent-per-pack increase in [...]
Date
September 10, 2015
Author
Carol Gundlach
Blog

Committee breakthrough: Alabama House panel OKs General Fund budget, tax increases

An Alabama House budget committee Wednesday approved a set of tax increases worth approximately $130 million – and a General Fund (GF) budget that would cut $55 million from many core state services. The full House is set to consider the budget and many revenue measures Thursday. The total revenue package falls far short of [...]
Date
September 9, 2015
Author
Carol Gundlach
Blog

Alabama Senate committee eases Medicaid cuts, approves budget that Bentley already vetoed

Update: The Alabama Senate passed a no-new-revenue General Fund budget 19-15 Monday, but the House swiftly rejected it 92-2. The first special session ended without a budget, meaning Gov. Robert Bentley will have to call the Legislature back for a second special session. Get ready for another special session. That seems to be the takeaway [...]
Date
August 7, 2015
Author
Chris Sanders
Blog

Alabama House passes budget that could end Medicaid in state

Medicaid could end in Alabama under a General Fund (GF) budget that the Alabama House passed Wednesday. Medicaid would lose 23 percent of its state funding, or $156 million, next year under the plan. Lost federal matching money would increase those cuts significantly. Cuts that large could end the Medicaid program in Alabama, State Health Officer [...]
Date
August 5, 2015
Author
Carol Gundlach