Alabama legislative session starts tomorrow

Lawmakers prepare to tackle budget issues and more this legislative session.

Posted: Jan. 8, 2018 6:09 PM
Updated: Jan. 8, 2018 6:24 PM

State lawmakers are going back to work tomorrow in Montgomery with legislative leadership making history in 2018.

Both the Speaker of the House (Mac McCutcheon) and the House Minority Leader (Anthony Daniels) are from Madison County. State Senator Arthur Orr has a strong leadership role representing Limestone, Madison, and Morgan Counties.

One thing to keep in mind about this legislative session is that 2018 is an election year in Alabama.

"I think we're going to be productive and we're going to do what we need to do," State Representative Mike Ball told WAAY 31 News. "But, I'm not expecting a groundbreaking session."

Ball, a Republican representing District 10, says politicians in Montgomery will be preoccupied going into this legislative session.

"As a general rule, during an election year, it's not a good time to do major reform because there's so much political posturing and arrogance," said Ball. "It runs amuck during the election season."

He said budget issues top the list of work lawmakers have to do. This includes the general fund and the education trust fund. Alabama is also under a court order to improve conditions in the state's prisons.

"It will be the budgets. It will be prison," said Ball. "Surprisingly enough, Medicaid did not ask for an increase this year which is historical. I can't remember them ever not asking for an increase."

Lawmakers may eventually be faced with the problem of trying to come up with money for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), known as All Kids in Alabama.

"We do have the CHIPs funding," said Ball. "We have to see what the Feds -- what the Congress does. But, hopefully, we'll have an answer on that before it comes out. If we don’t get some help on the CHIPs funding, that could become a crisis."

Ball is the chairman of the ethics commitee which he referred to as "Ground Zero" in Alabama.

He said he wants to reform Alabama's ethics laws. He wants better clarity and more enforcement options.

"We've got some issues that have to be aired out before we get in a position to fix those," he said.

Since this is an election year, Ball said this session will likely be a quick one. He warns you may see some grandstanding from politicians trying to use ethics to their own advantage.

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