Hitting legislative highlights

Published 11:15 am Tuesday, July 17, 2012

By SLADE BLACKWELL / Guest Columnist

In my previous column, I provided a short summary about budgets, pro-business bills and redistricting during the 2012 legislative session.

However, for this month’s column I wanted to highlight some of the major bills that were passed and provide a brief explanation.

Over 1,370 bills were introduced in 2012 and 437 passed through the House and Senate. While I will not be able to mention all of the bills that were passed this session, I hope the following will provide an insight as to what we were able to accomplish.

-“ONE SPOT Bill” — This optional system allows businesses to file their taxes in one place online with the Department of Revenue, instead of directly with the cities and counties directly.

-Heroes for Hire” Tax Credit Act – This act offers Alabama businesses $2,000 for hiring a veteran recently returned from war.

-Data Processing Center Incentives – This expands scope of certain tax incentives to help recruit jobs in this growing industry.

-AARP bill – This bill provides a motor vehicle insurance discount for seniors 55 and older and gives the ability to complete a vehicle accident prevention course online.

-School Accountability and Performance Incentive Plan – Assigns an easy-to-understand A-B-C-D-F letter grade to each school to grade performance and sets up a school performance bonus system.

-Rewarding Teacher Certification – Recognizing excellence in education starts in the classroom, Senate Republicans voted to fund a $5,000 bonus for teachers who become national board certified.

-Additional Funding for Classroom Supplies – This special appropriation gives each classroom teacher an additional $300 to spend on classroom supplies.

-Repeal 2007 Pay Raise – Lawmakers voted to repeal the 62 percent pay raise Democrats voted themselves in 2007 and allows voters to determine how legislators are compensated.

I am extremely pleased with the smart legislation that was presented in the legislature this year and I hope we will continue to work throughout the year to improve our great state of Alabama.

Slade Blackwell is serving his first term in the Alabama State Senate representing Jefferson and Shelby Counties in District 15. For more information about Slade, please visit Sladeblackwell.com or follow him on Facebook or on Twitter @sladeblackwell. To reach him by phone, please call (205) 396-1144.