Alabama lawmakers prepare for final day of legislative session

Another session of the Alabama legislature is coming to an end.
Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 6:53 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - After years of debate, Alabama taxpayers will get a break on the state’s grocery tax. It’s one of several bills waiting to be signed into law that will save you money.

“We have worked across the aisle, as well as anytime since I’ve been here,” said Speaker of the House Nathaniel Ledbetter. “Because of the growth in the economy, it’s expanded our income tax base.”

HB479 will drop the state’s grocery tax from 4% to 3%. If there is a 3.5% growth in the Education Trust Fund, the grocery tax will drop to 2% in 2024. That bill is waiting on the governor’s signature.

“We wanted to make sure that we have enough growth in the ETF to sustain the drop-down to the grocery tax. And also just some general you have to have some general budget growth room year after year,” said Senator Andrew Jones, R-Cherokee County.

Another bill waiting on the governor’s signature will give hourly paid employees in the state a 5% pay raise if they work more than 40 hours a week.

“Their money, their pockets,” said House Minority Leader Rep. Anthony Daniels.

With time running out, if a bill has not passed at least one chamber, it won’t pass by the end of the session. Daniels hopes to see the final passage of two.

One will make it illegal for retailers to sell vaping products to people under 21 years old and the other mandates kids go to kindergarten or prove first-grade readiness.

“That’s supported by the governor and members of the House of Representatives,” he said.

Those bills are in the Senate.

But with time running out, a number of bills won’t see the light of day. Still, House leadership says state lawmakers got a lot of work done for the people.

“It’d be rare to see the Speaker of the House on the Republican side sign a bill from the minority leader in Washington, DC, but I did that on removing the overtime tax because it’s a good deal,” said Ledbetter.

“I do have a bit of optimism about Alabama politics, as it relates to working in a bipartisan manner,” said Daniels.

The legislation that criminalizes assistance on absentee voting is one of the more contentious bills with a chance to pass. Ledbetter says that bill is on life support but not dead yet.

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