MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Today the Alabama Senate passed ambitious conservative reforms focused on defending unborn children, protecting taxpayers, reforming prisons, restructuring the payday lending industry, and protecting the Second Amendment rights of Alabamians. Senate Republicans also overrode Governor Robert Bentley’s veto of the Legislature’s General Fund budget.
“It was a good day for the Senate. We were able to pass a General Fund budget that did not raise taxes or raid the Education Trust Fund and we were able to approve meaningful conservative reforms,” Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) said. “I want to commend the members of the body for their diligent work and their commitment to a business-as-usual attitude that allowed us to pass a number of important bills.”
Before last week’s spring break, Governor Bentley vetoed the Legislature’s General Fund budget, arguing the Legislature should have increased Medicaid’s funding by an additional $85 million.
The Legislature quickly and overwhelmingly overrode the Governor’s veto, achieving final passage of a budget that avoids new taxes and asks most state agencies to make small, manageable cuts. The Legislature’s budget increases funding for the state’s National Guard units and the Department of Public Health.
Senate Republicans also took a dramatic step to protect the Second Amendment rights of Alabamians with Senate Bill 14, sponsored by Senator Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa). Under this legislation, Alabamians would not need a gun license to carry firearms in their personal vehicles. This extension of the Castle Doctrine makes it easier for persons to protect themselves and their property.
“We are laser-focused on passing conservative legislation that will save taxpayers money and protect the constitutional liberties of Alabama’s citizens,” Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed (R-Jasper) said. “There are a lot of political distractions in Alabama right now, but Senate Republicans remain committed to passing conservative reforms to move the state in a positive direction.”
The Unborn Infants Dignity Act by Senator Bill Hightower (R-Mobile) and Representative April Weaver (R-Brierfield) prohibits the sale of unborn infant body parts, ensuring that Alabama continues to lead the way in promoting a culture of life.
The Senate also reformed the payday lending industry by requiring lenders to extend loan repayment periods to six months. Senate Bill 91, sponsored by Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur), also requires that lenders begin to accept loan repayment via installments.
Alabama’s dangerously antiquated prison system would get a dramatic upgrade with the Prison Transformation Initiative Act, sponsored by Senator Trip Pittman (R-Montrose). The plan would replace over a dozen of the oldest prisons in Alabama with four modern facilities. The construction of the new prisons is projected to save taxpayers millions of dollars over the coming decade and will make the state’s correctional facilities safer for prison officers and inmates.
“The legislative package passed today by Alabama Senate Republicans comprise some of the most ambitious and impactful conservative proposals put forth this legislative session,” concluded Senator Jabo Waggoner (R-Vestavia Hills).
Led by President Pro Tem Del Marsh, the Alabama Senate Republican Caucus is comprised of 26 of the 35 state senators. Its members have a wide variety of professional experience and include doctors, teachers, and businessmen. They are committed to serving the public in a way that makes Alabama the best place to own a business, raise a family, make a living, and spend retirement