Legislators discuss upcoming session at Enterprise luncheon

Updated: Jan. 12, 2017 at 7:30 PM CST
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ENTERPRISE, AL (WSFA) - State Senator Jimmy Holley and State Representative Barry Moore attended a Chamber of Commerce luncheon Thursday where they talked with leaders about issues on the agenda for next month's legislative session.

Holley and Moore previewed several topics including economic development, the state budget, Medicaid, education, and the prison systems.

Enterprise is one of the fastest growing communities in Alabama. Moore says support for small business is imperative for a healthy economy and funding defense and infrastructure at Fort Rucker.

"I'm looking at workers [compensation] bill to help small businesses. It's a mandatory fine and you have to buy workers comp for small business, that's a drain on families," Moore explained.

Moore is also looking to implement a fee on money wired out of the state on which taxes aren't paid. The bill would allow you to deduct the fee off your taxes at the end of the year.

"We have a lot of cash money being paid under the table to workers, and it's being wired out of our state and the country. We don't get any revenue for that, but we still educate those folks, we treat them in the ERs, so it's a drain on our economy," Moore explained.

Holley says one of the biggest issues for him is that state prisons are overcrowded. There is a $800 million bond issue to build four new prisons.

"Those prisons were built for 100 percent occupancy. They're now at 182 percent occupancy," Holley said.

Three lawsuits have been filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center concerning the Americans with Disabilities Act and mental health concerns.

"We have not dealt with a lawsuit yet under Judge Myron Thompson that will deal with facilities..." Holley said. "Do you want the state to build those prisoners prisons or do you want the federal government, under receivership, to do it? I particularly prefer to do it ourselves," Holley added.

Holley is also concerned about Medicaid funding.

"The Medicaid budget will be somewhere between 50-60 million dollars underfunded based on last year's appropriations," he said.

Budget hearings are scheduled for Jan. 30.  The legislative session starts Feb. 7.

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