Senator Phil Williams 2012 Legislative Agenda

January 18, 2012 mray Blog

PHIL WILLIAMS – 2012 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

JOBS/ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

– Job Creation and Retention Act

This Bill is slated to be a major jobs creation bill that is highly sought after by the administration and the majority leadership. It is a spinoff of the former “Mercedes incentive”. ADO and the Governors offices are very actively in favor of this Bill and it is expected to have bi-partisan support.

STREAMLINE GOVERNMENT

– Management of Public Employee Deferred Compensation Program

This bill is brought at the request of the State Personnel Department. State employees have an optional deferred compensation retirement plan (401K style) that was previously mismanaged by the State Employees Union. A Court order has given the Personnel Department the authority to maintain the plan and this is the enabling legislation. The bill is revenue neutral and no taxpayer dollars contribute to the plan.

– Legislative Pay Commission

This is the bill that was considered last year that establishes a separate commission to study and set all future legislative pay. It comes in the form of a constitutional amendment and has the effect of repealing the 2007 pay raise and ensuring that the Legislature will never again be allowed to vote on its own pay. It would also require that Legislative pay face proration if either budget is ever prorated. The bill has been prefiled.

MILITARY

– Revised authority governing the Alabama State Defense Force

This bill comes at the request of the State Military Department. There is a separate organization known as the State Defense Force which is quasi-military and established by a combination of statutes and executive orders. It is purely an augmentation organization but real problems exist with command and control as evidenced during the tornado crisis. This bill streamlines the regulations that hold them accountable and gives clear guidance for future operations.

LEGAL

– Tort Reform – Revoke or amend the Alabama Guest Statute

Currently Alabama is one of only three states that make it impossible for a gratuitous passenger in a vehicle to sue a negligent driver for injuries that result from the drivers conduct. This bill is a revocation of that statute.

– Tort Reform – Alabama version of “Loser Pays”

Currently under consideration for a strengthening of Alabama’s current Litigation Accountability Act to allow for the dismissal of frivolous lawsuits.

BUDGET

– General Fund – increased funding for National Guard Armories and infrastructure

Current National Guard infrastructure is decaying at a rapid rate with most facilities being 30-50 years old.

– Education Fund – 2.5% COLA Raise for teachers with less than 9 years experience

37% of all teachers fall in the “less than 9 years service” category. A COLA is not feasible for all teachers but a COLA now for our youngest teachers (more than 1/3) will signify our commitment to retaining quality teachers.

SOCIAL

– Pro-Life: Personhood

This Bill establishes that life begins at the moment of conception. Passed the Senate last year and ran out of time in the House. It will likely be substituted with a proposed Constitutional Amendment to allow Alabamians to vote on the matter.

– Family: Covenant Marriage

Current statistics show that 50% of Alabama marriages end in divorce. This mirrors Louisiana law that allows for a distinct and voluntary commitment at the time of the marriage license that the couple will pursue counseling prior to a divorce decree ever being entered.

– Family: Abolish need for Re-Adoption Process for foreign adoptions

Currently Alabama is one of the few States that does not recognize foreign adoptions and requires that adopting families go through a separate and expensive re-adoption process. This bill allows for well-documented foreign adoptions that were already approved by the US Government to receive automatic recognition in Alabama.

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About Phil Williams

Phil Williams
Phil Williams

CONSERVATIVE,
REPUBLICAN

Phil Williams is an Attorney with his own firm of Williams & Associates, LLC in Gadsden, Alabama. His legal focus is largely in the areas of insurance, municipal and corporate defense. Phil has also served as the Chief Operations Officer and General Counsel for TaxBreak, which has its corporate offices in Gadsden, Alabama. TaxBreak is one of only a handful of Alabama based Inc-500 companies and has clients in all 50 States. His legal experience covers all levels including appellate, and he is admitted to practice in all State and Federal Courts in Alabama.

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