Legislators deliver State of the State
November 29, 2018
Southern Torch (3700 articles)
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Legislators deliver State of the State

By Zach HesterReporter • zach@southerntorch.com (Photo by Marla Jones)

DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. — On Tuesday, DeKalb and Jackson counties’ state legislators gathered alongside local officials and residents to deliver the 2018 State of the State address at Northeast Alabama Community College.

Rainsville, Fort Payne and Mountain Lakes Chambers of Commerce co-sponsored the event.

House Majority Leader/Representative Nathaniel Ledbetter and State Senator Steve Livingston addressed the crowd with an overview of the 2018 legislative session.

They reported the following:

  • The largest education budget (6.63 billion) since the Great Recession. The budget included a 2.5% pay raise for teachers and support personnel.
  • The announcement of the Alabama School for Cyber Technology and Engineering, which will be based in Huntsville. It will serve as a public magnet school for grades 7-12.
  • The state boasts a balanced budget in the general fund with no new tax increases. This year, a targeted increase for the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) to put 30 additional state troopers on the road.
  • The budget gives a 3% cost-of-living raise to state employees (the first one in ten years)
  • Corrections was given a $55 million increase to hire additional mental and medical health staffers. The Mental Health budget was increased by $8 million to address the opioid crisis
  • The recognition of February 15th as Military Appreciation Day and the Parks for Patriots Act gave current military members and veterans free access to our state parks
  • The Veterans Employment Act establishes a one-time $2,000 income tax credit for businesses that hire a veteran for a full-time position paying at least $14 per hour
  • Gave the green light to ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft to operate in the state
  • Toughened penalties for obstructing human trafficking (which includes child sex trafficking) investigations. The maximum offense is now a Class A felony (minimum ten years sentence).
  • The Broadband Accessibility Fund will award grants to telecommunications and cable companies that build broadband infrastructure in underserved areas
  • The Child Care Safety Act increases safety reporting requirements for daycare centers while protecting faith-based daycares from DHR licensure
  • Reported a growth of 112 new jobs in DeKalb County and 315 new jobs in Jackson County

Ledbetter and Livingston reported that House Republicans retained their supermajority of 77 of the 105 while Senate Republicans maintain their supermajority of 27 of 35 seats. Looking forward, both legislators said the Legislature is ready to get back to work with a conservative agenda.

The 2019 Legislative Session to set to tackle controversial issues like an infrastructure plan, a lottery bill, prison and criminal justice reform, protection of rural health care, and possible Medicaid expansion.

Southern Torch

Southern Torch

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