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Florida and Alabama Legislative Updates Available

Alabama

Last week, the stalemate in the Senate continued over Sen. Lowell Barron’s (D-8th District) Constitutional Amendment to provide a 10 year road and bridge construction program by appropriating $100 million a year from the Alabama Trust Fund for the next 10 years. No other business has been taken up by the Senate for the two legislative weeks that the Senate has been mired on this legislation. In fact, the last day a bill was even introduced in the Senate was January 19th. Both sides appear to have dug in their heels firmly, with arguments on the amendment evens spilling over into committee hearings on other bills. The House, on the other hand, continues to move through legislation, although leaving such controversial issues as bingo until after the Senate acts.

Last Wednesday the House and Senate Banking Committees met for the consideration of a number of bills. Among other bills in the Senate committee was SB 253, which will increase the limit on late charges allowed under the Alabama Consumer Credit Act, which governs loans of under $2,000 and was approved by the Committee. The bill was approved by the committee.

In the House, the Committee likewise approved HB 34, the companion bill to SB 253, increasing the allowable late charge under the Consumer Credit Act. The biggest issue before the House Banking Committee Wednesday was a public hearing on HB 82, the Uniform Residential Mortgage Satisfaction Act. The LSCU has some concerns with the bill as currently written.
The House and Senate will meet all three days this week, which will curtail some committee meetings. The General Fund Budget and the Education Fund Budget will be before committee this week. Despite the Governor’s proposal to account for a second round of Federal Stimulus dollars to shore up the budgets, the chair of the Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee is working from the assumption that the fund is short by approximately $600 million. How the Legislature works out the difference between what is proposed, and what the state actually has on hand to work with will be a very difficult discussion this week. We will have more updates on this and other issues next Monday.

If you have any questions, please contact the LSCU Vice President, Legislative Affairs/Staff Counsel Will McCarty at wmccarty@acul.com or 205-991-9710. You can read more about the bills above and the third week of Alabama session by going to the Governmental Affairs tab and look for the Legislative Update page. It is password protected so you need to login first.

Florida

State legislators begin working for the next three weeks toward session. Legislators will hold regular meetings this week, the focus of the second week of Feb. shifts to the budget and the third week of Feb. they will hold regular meetings. This week legislators turn their focus to Medicaid, reforms to the Public Service Commission, state employee benefits, the governor's budget request, residential foreclosures, the economy and energy production. Two Democrats and three Republicans will square off in a special primary election for Florida's 19th Congressional District, which had been held by Rep. Robert Wexler until Jan. 3. The Democratic primary features former Broward County Commissioner and former State Rep. Ben Graber against State Sen. Ted Deutch. The Republican primary features financial planner Joe Budd, contractor Ed Lynch and retired police officer Curt Price. The general election will be held April 13.

For more information on the upcoming Florida Legislature, contact the LSCU Vice President, Legislative Affairs, Mark Landreth at mark.landreth@fcul.com or 850-576-8171, ext. 1012. You can stay caught up on legislation in Florida and Alabama by checking the Governmental Affairs page and clicking on the Legislative Update page which is updated weekly and is password protected.

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