MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Yesterday, the Alabama State Senate moved to dramatically strengthen Alabama’s position in preparation for next round of the Department of Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission’s (BRAC) decision-making process.
Senate Bills 242 and 218, both sponsored by Senator Bill Holtzclaw (R-Madison), move the Alabama Job Creation and Military Stability Commission from resolution to code and create the Military Stability Fund to facilitate public-private partnerships for economic development in the defense industry. The Military Stability Commission was originally created by a legislative resolution in 2011 and exists to promote the growth of the defense industry in Alabama.
“The threat of a future BRAC has moved from over the horizon to on the horizon – a BRAC will likely occur during the Trump Administration,” Holtzclaw said. “These bills will strengthen Alabama’s position to retain and expand our military installations throughout the state.”
“The Military Stability Commission is essential for maintaining Alabama’s position as an armed forces and military defense industry leader. I wholeheartedly support the Legislature’s foresight to capitalize on coming BRAC opportunities, which will create jobs,” Governor Kay Ivey said.
Since 2011, Ivey has served as the chair of the Military Stability Commission. She was integrally involved in its creation during her term as Lieutenant Governor.
The Senate also approved proposals to protect deployed National Guard members and give Alabama’s students more information about the benefits of military service.
SB97 allows all deployed members of the Alabama National Guard to qualify for the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). The SCRA provides a range of protections for deployed service members, including temporary suspension of outstanding credit card debts, mortgage payments, and pending trials. Currently, only service members who deploy for at least thirty days may qualify.
SB203 allows military recruiters to have the same access to Alabama’s high school, college, and university campuses as private sector companies are given, in order to better maintain an all-volunteer military.
“I commend Senator Holtzclaw and the entire Senate for their leadership in working to pass legislation that honors and serves those in uniform who protect and defend us,” Governor Ivey remarked.
Senator Bill Holtzclaw represents Madison and Limestone counties in the Alabama Senate and served for twenty years in the U.S. Marine Corps, which included combat tours in the Gulf War and Somalia. Follow him on Twitter for the latest legislative updates: @billholtzclaw