Legislative Roundup – Week 7

The Alabama Legislature is moving along this week down in Montgomery and there has been some interesting news this week.  First Let’s talk about the Legislator’s pay.

Sen. Bryan Taylor has sponsored a bill that would tie the legislator’s pay to the median household income in Alabama.  Another bill would make it much harder for the legislature to approve a pay raise.  Currently each legislator receives $53,388 a year for a part-time job.  If these bills were passed it would drop the pay to $40,474.  That was the median household income of Alabama in 2010.  The legislators who live more than 50 miles from Montgomery would get a per diem of $75 for 45 days and mileage at $0.555 per mile.  That is the same pay scale for state employees.  I believe this is a great start for cutting the pay of the legislator’s since the state is so broke.  But I also do believe they need more cuts in their pay.  Remember they are working a part-time job.

The next bill that makes sense is sponsered by Sen. Roger Bedford.  It would allow the voters in Alabama to recall public officals.  Right now there are several people serving office around the state that the voters would love to kick out.  If this bill did pass voters would have to gather 25% of the voters signatures.  This bill would also put a lot of accountability back into public office in Alabama.  If this bill was law I know that Ben Little here in Anniston would be recalled.  But I have a feeling that this bill will go nowhere.  Just because our elected officials love to have power.  And they will hold on to power for as long as they can.

This bill is gaining support from many people in Alabama.  A bill sponsored by Rep. Randy Davis would require Alabama schools to start around Labor Day and end around Memorial Day.  The thinking is if schools are out longer the tourist areas and camps will generate more money and in turn will produce more tax revenue.  Most people like this idea but I do not.  My concern is that kids will be out longer.  Which means kids will forget more stuff that will have to be re-taught when school starts again.  I wish schools in Alabama would move to a schedule where you have school and then you are out for 2-3 weeks throughout the year.  That way kids would not forget as much.  But my idea will be unpopular with many.  Because our culture in America has the whole summer vacation idea in our heads.  And many are unwilling to end a tradition.

All of this is going on while Governor Bentley declared proration of 10.6 percent for the state General Fund.  So we need to deal with the budget issues!  Which might mean higher taxes.  Oops!  I said the dreaded word.