Democrats, Republicans list some priorities for March session

Lawmakers prep for legislative session

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Lawmakers will head to the statehouse in less than two months and they are talking about their priorities.

Democrat and Republican House leadership have similar goals but differ on how to achieve some of them.

Rep. Mac McCutcheon is the Speaker of the House and said infrastructure is a top priority. It could include a gas tax.

“We’ve waited long enough,” he said. “What revenue streams we had was created and addressed in 1992, and we haven’t done anything since from the state’s perspective.”

Minority Leader Rep. Anthony Daniels said Democrats also support infrastructure, but want another source of revenue like a lottery instead of a gas tax.

“I think that we have to look at, revisit, things like the lottery, and revisit other things that will generate revenue,” Daniels said.

Both parties also want to focus on Alabama’s prisons, which are understaffed and facing lawsuits. House Republican leadership wants to examine the court’s orders to see how much more money might be needed. Democrats want to focus on criminal justice reform to reduce the prison population.

As both parties work to put more money into other areas of the budget, the House general revenue budget chairman says overall there will be budget challenges in the next few years.

“We have to be cognizant of that this year, not to get too far ahead of ourselves and make sure we don’t put ourselves in a big hole,” said Rep. Steve Clouse.

Republicans have the majority in both the house and the senate chambers. There are 77 house republicans and 28 house democrat members.

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