Lawmakers head into final days of legislative session

Alabama lawmakers are headed into the final days of the 2018 session with key votes looming on proposals to allow some teachers to carry guns in school, prison funding and other bills.

Posted: Mar 19, 2018 2:49 PM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama lawmakers are headed into the final days of the 2018 session with key votes looming on proposals to allow some teachers to carry guns in school, prison funding and other bills.

The final meeting days are expected to bring a flurry of work as lawmakers push to get bills approved before the session winds down. Lawmakers are expected to meet three days this week in Montgomery. Legislative leaders anticipate ending the session March 29.

Here's a look at some of the legislation expected to be decided in the final days of the legislative session.

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ARMING TEACHERS

The House of Representatives on Tuesday is expected to have lengthy debate on a proposal by Republican Rep. Will Ainsworth to allow designated teachers and school employees to carry or access firearms in school. A divided House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee approved the bill last week on a 5-4 vote. The legislation is one of multiple gun-related bills introduced after the Feb. 14 shooting at a Florida high school that killed 17 people. Gun control measures pushed by Democrats, such as raising the age to 21 to purchase an AR-15 or similar weapons, have not gotten a floor vote in the GOP-dominated Legislature.

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BUDGETS

Lawmakers said the focus of the session would be state budgets that are almost complete. Lawmakers are expected to give final approval to the general fund budget and education trust fund budget. The general fund includes an additional $85 million for the state prison system over the next two years. The state faces a federal court order to improve mental health care to inmates. The budget bills also include funding for a 3 percent pay increase for state employees and a 2.5 percent pay increase for education employees.

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LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

The Alabama Senate could debate a proposal to strip the lieutenant governor of legislative duties. Currently the lieutenant governor presides over the Senate and makes appointments. Some lawmakers have proposed making the office something similar to a vice president for the state governor, and letting senators choose their presiding officer similar to the way the House of Representatives does. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey spoke out against the proposal in her State of the State address.

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DEATH PENALTY

The Senate-passed bill would authorize the state to carry out executions by nitrogen gas. The bill would allow execution by nitrogen hypoxia if lethal injection drugs are unavailable or are ruled unconstitutional. The House is scheduled to debate the proposal on Tuesday. The Death Penalty Information Center says no state has used nitrogen gas in an execution. Two states, Oklahoma and Mississippi, have voted to authorize the use of the gas as a backup method.

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CIVIL ASSET FORFEITURE

Lawmakers could vote on a proposal to track cases of civil asset forfeiture, the practice of law enforcement seizing property through a civil action for suspected criminal activity. The revamped bill would track cases instead of banning or altering the practice. The tracking version was introduced after legislation faltered that would have required a conviction to seize property. The bill has not cleared either chamber yet and faces a closing window for approval.

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JUVENILE JUSTICE

The proposed overhaul of the state's juvenile justice system aims to keep low-level offenders out of detention. The House approved the bill on a 69-20 vote last week and it could see a Senate committee vote this week. The bill is based on recommendations made by the Alabama Juvenile Justice Task Force. Nearly two-thirds of the children in DYS custody in 2016 didn't commit a felony, according to the task force's report. They were sent there for probation violations and misdemeanor offenses.

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UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION

The Senate-passed bill would lower the number of weeks a person can receive jobless benefits. The bill would lower the maximum unemployment benefit period from 26 weeks to between 14 weeks and 20 weeks, depending upon the state's average unemployment rate. The bill also raises the maximum benefit by about $40 per month. The House could vote on the bill Tuesday.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 35419

Reported Deaths: 1230
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds290851
DeSoto190019
Madison144638
Jones120349
Harrison113616
Rankin108715
Neshoba104577
Forrest99343
Lauderdale96381
Scott81915
Jackson77519
Washington72213
Copiah65315
Leake63520
Lee61222
Oktibbeha61128
Grenada5949
Warren59421
Holmes58641
Wayne56218
Yazoo5536
Lowndes54813
Lamar5347
Leflore53156
Lincoln52935
Pike49920
Lafayette4974
Sunflower4778
Monroe45635
Panola4486
Covington4355
Bolivar40518
Simpson3933
Attala38424
Newton37510
Tate35213
Adams35120
Pontotoc3466
Marion32712
Claiborne30111
Chickasaw29719
Winston29511
Pearl River28832
Noxubee2788
Jasper2776
Marshall2773
Walthall2627
Clay25811
Union25211
Smith24612
Clarke22325
Coahoma2226
Lawrence2092
Yalobusha2079
Tallahatchie1954
Kemper18414
Carroll18111
Montgomery1713
Calhoun1645
Humphreys16310
Itawamba1468
Tippah14511
Hancock14413
Webster13411
Jefferson1263
Tunica1233
Jefferson Davis1204
Prentiss1204
George1163
Greene11310
Amite1103
Alcorn1002
Quitman991
Wilkinson989
Tishomingo971
Perry874
Choctaw754
Stone742
Franklin542
Sharkey480
Benton460
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 49892

Reported Deaths: 1077
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6433170
Mobile4753139
Montgomery4430112
Tuscaloosa263253
Madison21199
Marshall192611
Shelby164225
Lee157237
Morgan12695
Baldwin120711
Walker106131
Elmore102920
Dallas9969
Etowah95114
DeKalb9417
Franklin93216
Autauga67614
Russell6750
Chambers67427
Unassigned65328
Butler65129
Tallapoosa62869
Limestone6223
Houston5857
Cullman5716
Lauderdale5686
St. Clair5133
Colbert4956
Calhoun4905
Lowndes48122
Escambia4808
Pike4725
Coffee4244
Jackson4182
Covington41412
Barbour3942
Dale3911
Talladega3897
Bullock37710
Marengo35211
Hale34823
Chilton3232
Clarke3126
Wilcox3038
Blount2961
Winston2965
Sumter29113
Marion27514
Pickens2696
Randolph2589
Monroe2553
Perry2362
Conecuh2308
Bibb2211
Macon2159
Choctaw21212
Greene1959
Henry1533
Washington1418
Crenshaw1273
Lawrence1250
Cherokee1237
Geneva960
Lamar871
Clay852
Fayette821
Coosa651
Cleburne421
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