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Prison bill dies as legislative session ends

Published: May. 5, 2016 at 6:48 AM CDT|Updated: May. 5, 2016 at 5:19 PM CDT
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(Source: WSFA 12 News File Photo)
(Source: WSFA 12 News File Photo)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Lawmakers worked until midnight Thursday passing bills, but one that did not get final approval was the state prison plan. The plan was an $800 million bond issue to build four new prisons. The new prisons would allow the Alabama Department of Corrections to close 14 existing facilities.

The bill started the day at an 8 a.m. conference committee, but it did not pass out of the committee until a second meeting at 2 p.m. To pass, the bill still needed to get approval from both the Senate and House chambers.

Debate in the Senate is unlimited unless a 3/5ths vote can end debate. However, concerns over the construction and savings in the plan split the vote, forcing the bill back into committee.

In Alabama, all work must be completed by midnight on the 30th day of the legislative session. When the bill came out of committee again, it was almost 9:15 p.m. The new prison plan would be a scaled back version, building only three facilities for a $550 million bond issue. However, the bill would leave open up to 10 facilities.

The changes proved to be too much even though the bill moved out of the Senate. According to House Speaker Mike Hubbard, the bill never had enough votes to end debate and was never brought up for a vote.

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