What to expect at the Alabama State House Thursday
The first day of the special session was relatively uneventful, with the most drama stemming from the House’s server temporarily going down in the morning, which delayed legislators from getting a physical copy of the three bills on the agenda until Wednesday afternoon.
HB 1 is designed to bolster accountability, transparency and oversight when it comes to spending taxpayer dollars on transportation-related projects. HB 2 is the Rebuild Alabama bill to increase infrastructure revenue. HB 3 would allow the Alabama Highway Finance Corporation to have additional powers in borrowing money and issuing bonds to improve the Mobile Ship Channel at the state’s port.
The biggest significant difference between the prefiled and special session versions of Rep. Bill Poole’s (R-Tuscaloosa) Rebuild Alabama bill relates to electric vehicles. The proposed annual license fees/taxes associated with electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles are down to $200 from $250 and $100 from $125, respectively.
Rep. Bill Poole explaining where the House is in the special session process. Confirms a few changes to the prefiled version of his bill will be made, mostly related to electric vehicle fees and Port of Mobile funding. pic.twitter.com/g0rEpqIVhy
— Sean Ross (@sean_yhn) March 6, 2019
The three bills have received first readings in the House and are set to for a public hearing in the Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure Committee at 10:30 a.m. Thursday. Members of the public will be able to speak at the hearing.
The full House will reconvene at 2:00 p.m. Thursday. Later that afternoon, following the bills receiving their second reading on the floor, the Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure Committee could very well meet again and vote on the legislation. This would set the bills up for their third readings to occur Friday, after which floor debate and a final up-or-down vote on each could occur.
Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) told reporters Wednesday that he is optimistic about the bills passing the chamber. He advised the vote count was “going up” daily.
The Alabama Senate is expected to take the legislation up after the House finishes with the bills.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn