CULLMAN - The Alabama House Republican Caucus met earlier this week to set an agenda for the upcoming legislative session. The group will release its official agenda in a few days, but Rep. Corey Harbison, R-Good Hope (House District 12) gave the Tribune a brief sneak peek at things we might expect to see.
- Expect to see pro-life legislation introduced at some point during the session.
- Look for legislation backing a required civics test for graduating high school seniors.
Harbison said, "This is another piece I favor, requiring all high schoolers to pass a civics test before graduation. This would be the same kind of test you'd take to become a U.S. citizen. I’ve met high schoolers who can't even tell me who the governor of Alabama is."
- Harbison himself plans to introduce a bill in the first few days, that would protect firefighters and emergency medical services personnel (EMTs) from acts of violence.
Harbison said, "If a first responder is murdered in the line of duty, this will make it a capital offense. This kind of law is already in place for law enforcement officers."
A capital offense declaration would make the killing of an on-duty EMT or firefighter a crime eligible for the death penalty.
- DO NOT expect the proposed 3-cent fuel tax to pass. Harbison said that with so much current emphasis on tax relief in administration plans, the enactment of a new additional tax is unlikely.
See here for background on the proposed tax: http://www.cullmansense.com/articles/2017/01/12/chairman-walker-defends-...
- Look for legislation to address problems with the state prison system.
Harbison said, "We're trying to come up with a solution for overcrowding. A lot of current prisons were built in the early 1900s; they're outdated and overcrowded. I don't think they'll get the votes to build new prisons, but we have to do something."
- Without elaboration, Harbison said that legislation will be introduced to address Medicaid funding.
- Expect legislation to address the current state of Alabama's mental health system, especially the lack of sufficient facilities.
The Alabama State Legislature will begin its 2017 session on Feb. 7.
Harbison will be speaking Friday morning at the State of the State community luncheon at the All Steak Restaurant in Cullman. For details, see http://www.cullmansense.com/articles/2017/01/16/state-state-luncheon-set....
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