By Amy Young, PR Assistant
We had a wonderful time at the 2023 Shelby County Chamber Legislative Preview, which gives our legislators a great opportunity to speak to members of the business community each year and discuss their goals and topics of interest for the upcoming session! With this being the first year of a new quadrennium, our legislators are incredibly busy with a heavier-than-normal load of meetings to prepare for session, and unfortunately that meant the ever-important budget hearings fell on the same day as the preview. Several of our members are on the General Fund and Education budget committees and had to be in Montgomery to take part in the hearings. However, we had a prerecorded video (thanks to the Shelby County Reporter and the Chamber) from Senator Weaver, and Senators Dan Roberts and Jabo Waggoner were able to call and briefly speak.
The top priority, as with years past, is approving the budget. This is the only thing the Alabama Legislature is legally obligated to complete, based on its formation in the Alabama Constitution. This year, the budget debate will focus on the surplus revenue we received in 2022 in our General Fund. The legislature will discuss whether to place the excess in the rainy-day fund, or potentially look at a tax rebate. While budgets and funding are turning out to be an early focus this session, the legislature must also designate the federal funds that were allocated to the states during the pandemic with the American Rescue Plan Act before the end of the year, on projects that must be completed by 2026. Our members were also able to share their thoughts on potential upcoming legislation for transportation, schools, justice system reform, healthcare, and family.
Session kicks off March 7, 2023 and our legislators are looking forward to a great year of serving our community and state.