Category: Immigration

Alabama House Passes EF Agenda Items

Yesterday, the Alabama House of Representatives passed two important items on Eagle Form’s legislative agenda.  The first was a tough, Arizona-style immigration law by a vote of 73-28.  Among other things, Rep. Micky Hammon’s HB56 will give state and local police the power to check the immigration status of people who are held for other violations and require employers to verify the immigration status of their employees.  You can find more about the legislation here.

In addition, legislators finished the last of the promised Handshake with Alabama and completed another item on our agenda yesterday by passing an opt out of the federal health care legislation better known as Obamacare.  HB60 preserves the freedom of Alabama citizens to make decisions about and provide for their own health care regardless of federal mandates.

For a complete list of legislation we support, check out our 2011 Legislative Agenda here.

The Week Ahead

Committee Activity:

Senate:

SB34–Amends the Alabama Code to provide child includes children in utero.  A positive drug test at time of birth shall create the presumption of exposure in utero.

SB167–Prohibiting lawsuits against restaurants for obesity

SB 301–Defines “person” to include all humans from the moment of fertilization

SB308–Right to Know and See legislation requiring ultrasounds before abortions

SB202–Federal Abortion Opt Out Act prohibits insurance plans that cover abortion from participating in the state insurance exchange mandated by the Obamacare legislation.

House:

HB425–Moving state presidential preference primary to first Tuesday in March along with the general primary in presidential years.

HB324–moving property tax reappraisal on Class II and Class III property to every four years.

HB123–Education Budget

HB365–Informing consumers of duty to pay state and local sales tax on goods purchased over the internet.

Lots of activity on the House and Senate floor as well.  The General Fund budget is scheduled to pass this week probably Thursday.  I hear the House may take up Rep. Hammon’s immigration legislation (HB56).  It’s the eighth bill on the House Regular Calendar, so there’s a good chance they will take it up.

Highlights from this week’s Regular Calendar:

Senate:

SB84–Limiting liability for property owners who lease for purposes of hunting or fishing.

SB140–Forever Wild reauthorization

SB127–Limiting terms in the Alabama House and/or Senate to 3 terms.

SB112–Removes racist language and references from the Alabama Constitution

SB17–Easing the ballot access requirements

SB50–Tax credits for creating jobs

SB152–Grants small businesses (less than 10 employees) that locate or expand in Alabama a 5-year property tax exemption.

House:

HB32–Moving the presidential preference primary to June beginning in 2012

HB56–Immigration reform legislation

Legislative Week in Review

The Alabama Legislature had another busy week.  The Alabama House passed several sunset bills along with the following:

Rep. Paul DeMarco’s HB25 Fiscal Transparency Legislation requiring the State Finance Department to produce monthly financial reports for the General Fund and the Education Trust Fund, and to publish them in a prominent place on the department’s website. This increased transparency will allow government agencies and the public to monitor the condition of the state’s budgets, making it easier to prepare for budget cuts, should they become necessary.

Rep. Wes Long’s HB8 which amends the definition of “child” to include the unborn.  It also creates a rebuttable presumption of exposing a child in utero to a controlled substance if both the mother and the child test positive for the same controlled substance not prescribed by a physician.

Rep. Jim McClendon’s HB102 ban on texting while driving.

Next week, the House will consider teacher tenure and the education budget.

The Alabama Senate saw a lot of action this week as well.  They had a few lively committee hearings on legislation:

SB140 Sen. Scott Beason’s reauthorization of the Forever Wild program

SB256 Sen. Scott Beason’s immigration reform legislation

SB236 Sen. Arthur Orr’s legislation to authorize furloughs for state employees

Next week, the Senate Health Committee will meet to consider several pieces of pro-life legislation.

AL Legislature Moving Quickly On Key Reforms

Since gaveling into session on March 1, 2011, the new GOP-controlled Alabama legislature has acted swiftly to get much-needed reform measures passed. The first and one of the most important of these was Rep. Greg Canfield’s Rolling Reserve Budget Act. Changing the way we budget the Education Trust Fund, Canfield’s bill will prevent proration in tough years. Legislators have also taken steps to restore fiscal responsibility to the state’s budget through the repeal of the state’s Deferred Retirement Option Program which will save taxpayers $70 million in additional benefits to state employees who work beyond retirement age.

Back in December they passed a complete overhaul of state ethics laws, and are continuing to strengthen them through legislation like Rep. Mike Ball’s HB58 requiring public officials/candidates and spouses of public officials/candidates to disclose if they are employed by the state or federal government or have a contract with the state or federal government.

Now they’ve turned their focus to the increasingly serious problem of illegal immigration. The Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform estimates the cost of illegal immigrants to the state of Alabama is $270 million a year. This estimate does not include many costs such as unemployment, gang violence and other criminal activity associated with illegal immigration. Rep. Micky Hammon and Sen. Scott Beason are looking to address this problem through HB56 and SB256 respectively.

Largely under the radar have been several pieces of legislation that make Alabama a more business-friendly environment. Rep. April Weaver’s legislation to allow qualifying employees to deduct from Alabama gross income 100% of the amounts they pay as health insurance premiums, Sen. Cam Ward’s legislation to provide tax credits to businesses that create jobs, and Sen. Paul Bussman’s bill to establish a 5-year property tax exemption for small businesses that relocate or expand in Alabama will improve economic development and create more jobs.

So far, the Alabama Legislature is off to a good start. If they continue to pass constructive reform measures and conservative legislation, they will get a solid A grading from us!

Coming Up This Week In The Alabama Legislature

On the House side:  The House is set to re-vote on the Obamacare Opt Out legislation.  Several Republicans were absent last Thursday, and it did not pass.  I’m told they have the votes to get it through this week.

On the Senate side:  The Senate may take up Sen. Beason’s immigration reform legislation in committee on Wednesday.

Other items on the regular calendar for this week:

Senate:

  • SB127-Limiting terms in the Alabama House and/or Senate to 3 terms.
  • SB136-Provides for electronic filing of campaign finance reports.
  • SB50-Provides tax credits for businesses that create jobs.
  • SB152-Establishes a 5-year property tax exemption for small businesses that relocate or expand in Alabama.
  • SB111-Prohibits counties and municipalities from collecting occupational tax.

House

  • HB32-Moves the presidential primary from March to June to coincide with state primary elections.
  • HB56-Immigration Reform legislation.
  • HB8-Amends the definition of “child” to include the unborn.
  • HB102-Ban on texting while driving.
  • HB126-Forever Wild reauthorization
  • HB211-Requires the state to provide liability insurance for teachers.

Ask Your Representative To Support HB56

The Alabama House is expected to vote on HB56 tomorrow.  Sponsored by Rep. Micky Hammon, HB56 requires businesses who receive economic development incentives to use e-verify, makes the entry, presence and involvement in economic activity of unauthorized illegal aliens a crime in this state, and requires law enforcement to verify the citizenship during routine enforcement of local, county or state laws.

Eagle Forum urges support for strengthening amendments to make sure that HB56 is at least as strong as Arizona’s illegal immigration bill.

Eagle Forum also urges a YES vote on final passage.

The net ANNUAL cost to Alabamians according to one legislator could be at least $600 million when depressed wages, lost jobs, dollars sent out of the U.S., drug addiction, etc. are added to the $270 m. net annual cost to AL documented at www.fairus.org.  We cannot afford NOT to stop it by attrition through cutting off jobs and benefits.

Go to http://alabamaeagle.org/find-your-legislator to find your state legislator and email or call as indicated.

OR you may leave a message at the House switchboard in Montgomery: (334)242-7600.