CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

State News

April 2, 2014

Common Core repeal, wiretapping among dead bills

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A repeal of the Common Core curriculum standards and a cap on payday loan interest rates are among the legislative proposals that are dead for the session.

With just two days remaining in the 2014 regular legislative session, time has run out for many of the 1,103 bills introduced.

Legislative proposals that have not passed at least one chamber are dead for session. Lawmakers will meet Wednesday night and plan to wrap up the session Thursday.

Notable bills that didn’t make it this session include:

WIRE TAPPING — A bill to give state law enforcement the power to do wiretaps during murder, drug and other certain investigations fell flat among lawmakers. Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange made the bill one of his legislative priorities, but it never got voted out of committee. Strange said in January that Alabama is one of only seven states where state law enforcement cannot conduct wire taps.

COMMON CORE REPEAL — A Senate bill to repeal, or at least let local school boards opt out of, the Common Core curriculum standards did not get a floor vote after hitting opposition in the Alabama Senate.

MIDWIFERY — A bill that would allow non-nurse midwives to assist with home births did not get out of committee again this year. Women seeking to be able to deliver their babies at home have been pushing the change for several years without success.

PAYDAY LOAN INTEREST CAP— A proposed new cap on the amount of interest that can be charged by payday lenders failed to get out of committee. However, advocates came back with a watered-down bill that would create a state database to enforce the state’s existing $500 limit on how much people can borrow at one time. The database bill is still alive with two session days remaining.

DEATH PENALTY APPEALS —The proposal was aimed at shortening the appeals process in death penalty cases. It was voted out of committee but did not get a floor vote.

MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE — The proposed constitutional amendment would let voters decide on increasing the Alabama minimum wage. It did not get out of committee.

MARIJUANA — A proposal to do away with criminal penalties for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana did not get a vote. A medicinal marijuana bill has also died for the session.

GAMBLING PENALTY — The bill sought to raise the penalty for possession of an illegal gambling devise from a misdemeanor to a felony.

TEACHER LAYOFFS — The bill would have specified that seniority couldn’t be the most significant factor considered by city and county school boards when they write policies for laying off teachers due to funding problems or declining enrollment. Teacher evaluations, which took into account student scores, would also have to be a factor.  House and senate committees approved the proposal, but it never got a floor vote.

MEDICAID EXPANSION — The bill pushed by Democrats would have put the issue of whether to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act before Alabama voters.

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