Editorial: Session Wrap

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - State lawmakers started this year's regular session by filing 265 bills for review, in­including important bills dealing with our state budget, il­legal immigration and school board redistricting as detailed in the Republicans "Handshake with Alabama."

A lot was accomplished – so let's touch on a few bills signed into law that will impact us in the years ahead.

The repeal of the D.R.O.P. program (which incentivized government workers to delay retirement by allowing them to participate in a benefits plan in the latter part of their careers), the requirement to require photo id to vote (reducing the potential for fraud), the responsible budget and spending act (mandating state revenue estimates be based upon a 15-year rolling average, absorbing cyclical economic changes and enabling lawmakers to pass "proration-proof" budgets.), the Alabama ethics commission protection act (ensuring that its annual appropriation is an amount equal to .1% of the total funds appropriated from the State General Fund allowing for full funding), teacher tenure and fair dismissal reform (tenure protection for teachers while giving local school systems and community colleges the authority to fire bad teachers and problem employees for justifiable causes) and the Alabama Homeowners and Storm Victims Protection Act (protects the homestead exemptions of those whose homes were destroyed or severely damaged, ensuring storm victims won't be subject to an unfair property tax increase.)

The state budget issues, made even more difficult due to the lack of  stimulus dollars in the future, was a focus of this session and difficult but necessary cuts were made in various programs and agencies to balance the budget as mandated by law.

As citizens of this state we have a responsibility to be informed.  If you have questions or concerns about any new laws reach out to your legislator and get answers.  It's their job to help you understand and it's your right to know.

We congratulate them all on a productive session and look forward to the future under their direction.

We welcome your feedback.

Copyright 2011 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.