What's on Deck in the Alabama Legislature?

Date: January 17, 2018

Alabama legislators went back to work on Tuesday, January 9, with state elections looming over the proceedings. AL.com reported that all 140 seats in the Legislature are on the ballot, as is the governor’s seat, and this is expected to mean a short session that avoids work on any controversial issues.

Here’s a look at what to expect in the 2018 Alabama legislative session:

  • Prisons: For the last several years, lawmakers have deliberated on proposals that would borrow funds to replace the state’s old, overcrowded prisons with newly built ones, but none have passed. This year, to cover expanded healthcare services, the Department of Corrections is requesting a $30 million supplement to its general fund allotment of $413 million. It’s also asking for a $50 million budget increase for 2019.
  • Cost-of-living raises: Education employees and state workers could receive a pay increase in 2018, unless Congress does not fully fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
  • CHIP: If Congress does not reauthorize federal funding of the program, the Alabama Department of Public Health is asking for $53 million to keep the program afloat. This could impact whether the state can fulfill the prison funding request and the pay raises.
  • Medicaid: This program is expected to carry forward $53 million in 2018 funding, which would limit the need for a state funding hike. In the past few years, the Legislature has had to borrow money or use one-time funding opportunities to cover the state’s share for the program.
  • Gas tax: This issue is not likely to come up this session, unless a federal infrastructure bill is passed that requires states to match funds.


By law, the session can last up to three and a half months, but will likely wrap up sooner.

Related Content: Small Business News | Alabama | Economy

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