Alabama House sends to Ivey’s desk legislation making Alabama more friendly to military families
MONTGOMERY — The Alabama House of Representatives on Thursday passed a number of bills that would make Alabama friendlier to military service members. The package of legislation heads to Governor Kay Ivey’s desk for her signature.
An example of the bills passed is one that would let the children of those who serve in the military pay in-state tuition at Alabama colleges and universities even if their parent was transferred out of state.
Originating in the Senate, the package was a key priority of Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth and legislative leaders. Many of the bills passed the upper chamber during the 2020 legislative session but could not advance after the coronavirus pandemic shortened the session.
“With passage of this legislation, Alabama has signaled to the Pentagon that we value the military bases located here and are ready for even more expansion and investment. More importantly, though, we have taken large steps toward improving the lives of our active military personnel and the families that support them,” remarked Ainsworth in a statement.
Ainsworth chairs the Military Stability Commission, a group that worked together on the pieces of legislation in an attempt to “retain, protect, and improve the federal military presence and investment across the state,” per a release from Ainsworth’s office.
A number of the bills also provide for the acceptance of occupational licenses by state boards for spouses and dependents of military members.
Another piece of legislation in the package would provide for charter schools near military bases that cater to students of service members.
The House passed legislation that would help former veterans as well as those currently serving, such as a bill that would let the state sell lifetime hunting and fishing licenses to disabled veterans at a greatly reduced dost.
Additionally, the lower chamber approved a bill expanding the survivor benefits to a member of the Alabama National Guard who perishes in active service. If signed into law by Ivey, the compensation paid to a surviving dependent of a Guard would rise from $10,000 to $100,000.
“The federal military bases located in Alabama play an important role in our state’s economy and job climate, so protecting and expanding their footprint must always be a top priority. The cities and counties that house military bases also know their importance in providing employment opportunities and revenues in local economies,” noted Ainsworth.
Every bill in the package passed unanimously, except for the legislation regarding charter schools, which drew six ‘nay’ votes from Democrats.
Governor Ivey is expected to sign the bills soon.
Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.