AL.com - April 3, 2013, By Paul Gattis
MONTGOMERY, Alabama - Several pieces of legislation impacting Madison County are expected to be considered Thursday in the State House, Rep. Mac McCutcheon said tonight.
It includes a bill that would allow local government to assist in funding for upgrades at Redstone Arsenal and another bill that would indefinitely extend Madison County's lodging tax first passed in 2004.
But four of the bills, local legislation affecting only Madison County, may be casualties of a legislative protest by members of the minority Democratic Party.
Reps. Craig Ford, D-Gadsden, and Johnny Mack Morrow, D-Red Bay, are attempting to halt all local legislation this session. Ford's protest is in response to the Republicans pushing through the Alabama Accountability Act while Morrow is reacting to Gov. Robert Bentley vetoing his Franklin County legislation, which provided for volunteers to provide security in Franklin County schools.
Following Bentley's veto, Morrow's bill failed to get enough votes to override it.
Both Ford and Morrow have submitted written notice to oppose all local bills, which would require a four-fifths vote of the House to overcome.
"If we can get one passed, I think we can get them all passed," McCutcheon said of Madison County's bills. "It's not necessarily the piece of legislation. It's just the process at this point. If we can get the bills on the floor, we can pass them."
In addition to extending the lodging tax, the local legislation calls for the creation of a pretrial diversion program in Huntsville municipal court, the depositing of seized funds in the Madison County Commission general fund budget and the elimination of weeds in subdivisions outside any incorporated city.
The bill affecting Redstone Arsenal, statewide legislation sponsored by Rep. Mike Ball, R-Madison, could come up for debate Thursday as well, McCutcheon said. Ten years ago, $2.7 in local funds were used to build 10 homes on Redstone Arsenal for general officers relocating to Huntsville as part of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission decisions.
"It's very important for the arsenal and it's good for our area," McCutcheon said. "Huntsville and Madison County has always been very supportive of Redstone and the general quarters and the improvements that have been made. This will be a good way to continue that joint cooperation between the different government agencies."
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