Republicans lay out legislative priorities for 2016 session
February 5, 2016 Share

Republicans lay out legislative priorities for 2016 session

By Joseph M. Morgan

joseph@southerntorch.com

MONTGOMERY, Ala.— The Alabama Senate Republican Caucus recently announced their legislative priorities for the 2016 session that began earlier this week. Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston), Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed (R-Jasper), and other Republican state senators presented six legislative priorities, that make up their “Continuing Positive Progress” agenda.

Marsh said Senate Republicans will focus on legislation to spur economic growth, encourage education excellence, and protect children and families.

“A well-managed and efficient state government is in the best interest of all Alabamians and we should never stop looking for ways to make government work better for our citizens,” Sen. Marsh said. “Republicans in the Senate are committed to positive progress and I look forward to working with my colleagues as we continue to focus on common-sense, conservative solutions to the problems facing Alabama.”

Marsh pledged that bills accomplishing the stated goals will be given priority as they move through Senate committees, and receive top placement on the calendar when debated on the Senate floor.

“While addressing our primary goal of passing balanced, responsible budgets, Senate Republicans will also tackle our legislative priorities,” said Sen. Greg Reed. “The people of Alabama elected us to focus on jobs, education, and families – and we’re doing just that.”

Marsh said the “Continuing Positive Progress” priorities include the following themes:

Spur Economic Growth

Make Economic Incentives More Flexible & Accountable

Alabama competes against other states daily for new industries and business expansions. Creating more flexibility to craft responsible, pay-as-you-go incentive packages will result in more jobs for Alabamians.

Capitalize on Alabama’s Ports

Other states’ ports are taking in shipments of products bound for Alabama. Providing economic incentives to create more traffic through Alabama’s ports will generate exponentially more tax revenue and jobs.

Protect Children & Families

Increase Protection of the Most Vulnerable Victims of Abuse

Abuse cases of children under six are often missed because these kids do not attend school yet. Making aggravated child abuse of a child under age six a Class A felony will ensure justice is served to those who abuse the most vulnerable of our population.

Expand Suicide Awareness & Prevention Education Training

Suicide affects youths of every ethnic, economic, and social background. Equipping K-12 teachers with the tools and training to speak with students about suicide prevention will reduce the stigma associated with suicide and the illnesses and emotions that lead to it.

Encourage Education Excellence

Provide a Pay Raise to Teachers & Education Staff

The Alabama legislature’s fiscal discipline the last several years is paying off as evidenced by FY2017 revenues projections. Giving Alabama teachers and education staff a raise that can be responsibly sustained will help with morale and retention.

Incentivize Accountability, Specialized Hiring & Retention

Alabama ranks near the bottom for exiting ineffective teachers and retaining effective teachers. Rewarding educators when they succeed and assisting those who need additional help will help improve education as a whole.

“Alabama Senate Republicans are making the priorities of Alabamians our legislative priorities,” concluded Sen. Jabo Waggoner. “What matters most is doing the peoples’ business by improving the economy, strengthening education, and protecting families.”

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