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.

Cases: 314509

Reported Deaths: 7247
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21626259
Hinds20359415
Harrison17934309
Rankin13634278
Jackson13447246
Madison10099217
Lee9980174
Jones8381163
Forrest7683152
Lauderdale7191241
Lowndes6401147
Lamar623086
Lafayette6200118
Washington5339134
Bolivar4802132
Oktibbeha462798
Panola4588107
Pearl River4512146
Marshall4443103
Warren4393121
Pontotoc420772
Monroe4113133
Union411076
Neshoba4031176
Lincoln3968110
Hancock379386
Leflore3497125
Sunflower336090
Tate334084
Pike3325105
Scott315973
Alcorn313368
Yazoo311669
Itawamba300477
Copiah297065
Coahoma295479
Simpson295288
Tippah288768
Adams286882
Prentiss279760
Marion269280
Leake268373
Wayne262641
Grenada261487
Covington259681
George248048
Newton246861
Winston227281
Tishomingo226967
Jasper221148
Attala214473
Chickasaw207857
Holmes189173
Clay185454
Stone182833
Tallahatchie178841
Clarke178080
Calhoun170832
Yalobusha164338
Smith162434
Walthall133945
Greene130633
Lawrence128624
Montgomery126942
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121829
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107133
Tunica105726
Claiborne102430
Benton99525
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83823
Quitman80916
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67331
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 532895

Reported Deaths: 11001
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson771431528
Mobile41089808
Madison34837505
Tuscaloosa25810454
Montgomery24355588
Shelby23730249
Baldwin21191309
Lee15892171
Calhoun14522316
Morgan14324279
Etowah13861353
Marshall12250223
Houston10581281
Elmore10060205
Limestone9986151
Cullman9705194
St. Clair9702243
Lauderdale9441242
DeKalb8846187
Talladega8255176
Walker7246277
Autauga6938108
Jackson6815112
Blount6694137
Colbert6310134
Coffee5524119
Dale4850111
Russell443238
Chilton4308112
Franklin426282
Covington4136118
Tallapoosa4039152
Escambia393977
Chambers3578123
Dallas3557152
Clarke351161
Marion3130101
Pike311377
Lawrence300798
Winston275673
Bibb261564
Geneva251477
Marengo249664
Pickens234761
Barbour231756
Hale223277
Butler216469
Fayette212562
Henry189044
Cherokee184745
Randolph181742
Monroe178040
Washington167639
Macon159950
Clay156857
Crenshaw152757
Cleburne149141
Lamar142935
Lowndes139053
Wilcox127130
Bullock122841
Conecuh110629
Coosa107928
Perry107826
Sumter104832
Greene92534
Choctaw61124
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Columbus
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High pressure will continue to dominate our weather forecast for this weekend. This will keep our area filled with plenty of sunshine. However, there will be some changes next week in our weahter forecast as low pressure brings back some chances for showers and thunderstorms.
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