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Payday lending reform gains momentum as second bill clears committee in Alabama Legislature

Payday lending reform continued to pick up steam Wednesday as an Alabama House committee approved a proposal to reduce interest rates and limit the amount that payday borrowers can borrow each year. HB 297, sponsored by Rep. Danny Garrett, R-Trussville, now moves to the House. The House Financial Services Committee weakened Garrett’s bill by adopting [...]
Date
March 16, 2016
Author
Stephen Stetson
Blog

Alabama Senate considers payday lending reform bill but doesn’t vote on it

Payday lending reform got a debate but not a vote Thursday in the Alabama Senate. SB 91, sponsored by Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, cleared a procedural hurdle and received brief debate on the Senate floor, but lawmakers ultimately took no action on the measure. Still, the bill, which is supported by Arise and models Colorado’s [...]
Date
March 10, 2016
Author
Stephen Stetson
Fact Sheet

A menu of options to improve voting rights in Alabama

Alabama is famous around the world for our historic fights over equal access to the polls. Our entire democratic system depends on how elections are structured and who can participate. When barriers exclude people from voting, they often lose faith in a system that doesn’t seem to value their voice in our society’s decision-making process. [...]
Issue
Voting Rights
Date
March 7, 2016
Author
Stephen Stetson
Fact Sheet

Death is different: Reforming Alabama’s capital punishment system

How sure are you that human beings will get it right every single time? A single small mistake in a death penalty case could result in an unjust execution – an error that can never be corrected. People accused of capital crimes deserve every possible safeguard to ensure the integrity of a conviction. Several bills [...]
Issue
Criminal Justice
Date
March 7, 2016
Author
Stephen Stetson
Fact Sheet

Cigarette tax for Medicaid: A win-win to improve health and fill Alabama’s revenue gap

The future of Alabama Medicaid is on the line as lawmakers consider a threadbare 2017 General Fund budget. Without significant new revenue, Medicaid would not only lose the promising regional care organizations (RCOs) set to launch in October but also would cut vital services and doctor payments. Those cuts could place the Medicaid program itself [...]
Issue
Tax Reform
Date
March 7, 2016
Author
Alabama Arise
Fact Sheet

‘Ban the box’ law would help rebuild lives in Alabama

How sure are you that human beings will get it right every single time? A single small mistake in a death penalty case could result in an unjust execution – an error that can never be corrected. People accused of capital crimes deserve every possible safeguard to ensure the integrity of a conviction. Several bills [...]
Issue
Criminal Justice
Date
March 4, 2016
Author
Stephen Stetson
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