An Update on the Chamber’s Legislative Agenda
The Business View – April 2018 – UPDATED
By Kellie Hope, vice president, Community and Governmental Affairs
The Mobile Area Chamber’s governmental affairs team works throughout the legislative session to stay in contact with members of the Mobile-Baldwin-Washington County legislative delegation and engage in legislative issues that affect Alabama’s business climate.
During this last session of the current quadrennium, here are a few key Chamber issues.
- HB317 (by Rep. Ken Johnson) – Alabama Jobs Enhancement Act:
This act modernizes, clarifies and cleans up various economic development statutes. In particular, it improves transparency and accountability by requiring projects to notify the Alabama Department of Commerce when seeking abatements. It also clarifies the definition of lobbying as it relates to economic development activities. HB317 has passed the House committee on economic development and tourism and is expected to advance to a floor vote.
- HB267 (by Rep. James Buskey) – Brunch Bill:
This local bill to authorize the governing body of any municipality within Mobile County, or the county commission in any unincorporated areas of the county, to establish on-premises sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages on Sunday beginning at 10 a.m. HB267 has passed the House and has been sent to the Senate.
- HB25 (by Rep. Chris Pringle) – Alabama Department of Transportation Governing Commission:
HB25 calls for creation of a five-member State Transportation Commission to coordinate and develop the activities of the department of transportation, including the appointment of the director of the department. A standing transportation commission and full-time director will allow for more consistency in the long-term management of projects and priorities, beyond changes in elected administrations. HB25 has passed the House committee on transportation, utilities and infrastructure and is awaiting placement on the House calendar.
This update was published at press time, March 1. For the latest updates go to the Chamber’s blog at mobilechamber.com/blog. Kellie Hope may be reached at 251-431-8618 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2018 regular session of the Alabama Legislature adjourned on March 29th.
The $6.6 billion Education Trust Fund budget passed, the largest approved by the Legislature in a decade.
The education budget, provides a 2.5 percent pay raise for education employees, an $18 million increase for pre-kindergarten and increases to other services.
The $2 billion General Fund budget was also the largest in a decade, and gives state employees a three percent raise.
“The Brunch Bill” passed that will allow for alcoholic beverages to be served in Mobile County restaurants as early as 10 a.m. on Sundays.
Thanks to the business community’s many calls, texts and emails, legislation authorizing the continuation of the State Pilotage Commission passed the Legislature in the waning days of the session. Federal law requires a state-licensed pilot for all foreign flag vessels coming in and out of U.S. ports. Foreign Flag vessels account for 90 percent of the Port of Mobile’s traffic, and the continuation of the State Pilotage Commission allows port commerce to continue uninterrupted.
A bill critical to our economic development efforts passed, clarifying that professional economic developers and site selectors do not have to disclose project details or register as lobbyists. This bill protects the confidentiality of Alabama’s industrial development projects – and thus the competiveness of our state against other states.
About the Mobile Chamber
The Mobile Chamber is a private business organization with more than 1,700 members and the economic developer for the City of Mobile and Mobile County. The Mobile Chamber’s focus is to provide members with networking, marketing and professional development opportunities, expand jobs in the area, develop the local workforce, advocate legislative priorities and offer resources to help small businesses grow. Additional information is on the Chamber’s website, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.