Scheduling challenges, COVID-related bills, budgets, and more. Read on for all the details and to register for our virtual legislative day, Capitol Heels, on March 11.

The Alabama Legislative Session starts today, February 2, in Montgomery and The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham continues to combine the power of philanthropy and advocacy in order to have a more holistic impact for women. Gender and racial justice require policy change as well as investment in programmatic solutions.

In addition to meeting with lawmakers and speaking out about issues critical to women’s economic opportunity, we’ll be keeping a close eye on how the legislature operates in its first two weeks. The pandemic could force a pause or bring members back to Montgomery for a special session this summer.

Keep reading for what you can expect right out of the gate and stay tuned for more updates including the release of our 2021 Agenda for Women.

As always, thanks for being a voice for women!

What to Expect in the Early Weeks

COVID scheduling challenges

This year, meeting in person will again be challenging for lawmakers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of now, the legislature will be in session three days per week, from Tuesday to Thursday, for two weeks and will recess on Thursday, February 11, for one week. The leadership will determine the schedule from there.

What’s up first?

In the first two weeks of the session, the Legislature is expected to take up COVID liability protections for businesses, bills to exempt stimulus payments from state taxation, the renewal of two of the state’s industrial recruitment incentive programs that have expired, and local bills. This is important because it deals with some of the pressing issues that are time-sensitive, including the state’s ability to recruit industry and prevent lawsuits over COVID exposure. Also as new rounds of stimulus checks are contemplated at the federal level it is important to make clear that those payments will not be taxed in Alabama at the state level.

More hot topics that lawmakers are expected to consider:

  • Comprehensive gaming
  • Medicaid expansion
  • Broadband internet infrastructure
  • Reapportionment

Money, money, money!

Alabama has two budgets, the Education Trust Fund (ETF) and the General Fund (GF). The budgets are in generally good shape, but we don’t know the most recent revenue numbers. Budgets are complicated issues, but critically important for issues related to our legislative agenda, including:

  • Expanding Medicaid so 152,000 additional women in Alabama can gain healthcare coverage;
  • Improving access and quality in our child care system so more women can enter, remain, and succeed in the workforce and so that our state can reach its attainment goal of 500,000 skilled workers by 2025;
  • Scaling proven post-secondary models, created and incubated by The Women’s Fund and community colleges in the Greater Birmingham area, so that women gain credentials for in-demand jobs while their children are in high-quality child care.

How to get ready for the 2021 Alabama Legislative Session

  • Join our advocacy email list to receive Capitol Heels Reports throughout the 2021 session and action alerts about ways you can be a voice for women.
  • Find your representative and their contact info. Enter your zip code first, then your full address to see your specific legislators.
  • Register for our virtual legislative day, Capitol Heels, on Thursday, March 11 at 8:00 AM. More info below.
  • Stay tuned for the release of our 2021 Agenda for Women next week

Join us for our virtual legislative day

Register today for Capitol Heels, our virtual legislative day on Thursday, March 11 at 8:00 AM.

You’ll get the rundown on our 2021 policy agenda and insight into what to expect this legislative session. Alabama state leadership and lawmakers will share their top priorities in this nontraditional year.

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