MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth joined other state and local public officials, as well as military representatives, Wednesday morning to talk about state legislation designed to protect and expand the presence of federal military bases in Alabama.
“The federal military bases located in Alabama play an important role in our state’s economy and job climate, so retaining and, when possible, expanding their footprint must always be a top priority,” Ainsworth said.
Ainsworth’s office said bills in the pending legislative package will do several things including to:
- Allow military dependents attending public colleges and universities in Alabama to pay in-state tuition while stationed here
- Extend the enrollment deadline for military families to apply for magnet schools
- Guarantee the acceptance of out-of-state occupational licenses for military dependents in various professions
House Speaker Mac McCutcheon pointed out that competition among states for military infrastructure is at an all-time high and said “even the smallest advantage we put in place can tip the balance of whether a base stays here, leaves here, or expands here.”
McCutcheon added that the pending bills offer items that “not only [make] Alabama more attractive to Pentagon decision-makers, it also demonstrates a needed measure of our state’s famous southern hospitality.
The state is home to a number of federal military installations, including Redstone Arsenal in the north, Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in central Alabama, and Fort Rucker in the Wiregrass.
The legislation was produced by the Alabama Military Stability Commission, which was created in 2011 and now chaired by Ainsworth. It has passed the Alabama Senate and is working its way through the Alabama House.