March 19, 2021 | Regular Session
Alabama State Sen. Randy Price, R-Opelika, visits the Junior Beef Expo and talks about Senate passage of the Education Trust Fund budget, including an appropriation he championed to revive the livestock judging program at Auburn University.

Education Trust Fund Budget Passes Senate
Agriculture and workforce readiness programs fared well in an almost $7.7 billion Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget approved Thursday by the Senate. 

The spending bill includes level funding for Alabama’s career tech initiative as well as other Alabama Farmers Federation priorities including Classroom in the Forest and Ag in the Classroom. State investment in Liberty Learning Foundation civics education increased $50,000. 

Auburn University funding included $250,000 for the second year to revive a livestock judging program within the College of Agriculture. A committee is currently conducting interviews with finalists for a judging team coach. Appropriations for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station were up about $2 million each.

The ETF budget, sponsored by Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, passed unanimously. It is the largest in state history and includes a 2% raise for teachers and support staff. The bill now heads to the House of Representatives. See More Budget Details
Senate Committee Approves Lottery Bill
A lottery bill passed the Senate Tourism Committee Thursday following failure of comprehensive gambling legislation last week in the full Senate. 

SB 319 by Sen. Jim McClendon, R-Springville, would allow lottery tickets to be sold in stores, at kiosks and through a phone app. The Senate Tourism Committee considered McClendon’s proposal and a second lottery bill, SB 318 by Sen. Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman, before unanimously approving a SB 319 substitute.

The legislation specifically prohibits video lottery terminals and casino-style games. Proceeds from the lottery would be split equally between the General Fund and Education Trust Fund budgets. The bill would create the Alabama Lottery Commission to regulate and supervise the Alabama Lottery Corporation. 
Alabama To Receive $4 Billion From Stimulus Bill
Alabama county, city and state governments will receive more than $4 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act signed last week by President Joe Biden. In addition, Alabama K-12 schools are set to get an additional $2 billion for coronavirus-related expenditures. 

The $1.9 trillion federal relief and stimulus package included $350 billion for state and local governments across the country. According to the Finance Department, non-education allocations for Alabama include:

  • $2.1 billion for a state relief fund;
  • $192 million to go toward state capital projects;
  • $417 million to metropolitan cities;
  • $362 million to non-county municipalities; and
  • $951 million to counties.

Lawmakers expect fewer restrictions on these funds, compared to $1.7 billion the state received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March 2020. This could allow for additional spending on broadband expansion.

The Alabama Legislature is on Spring Break Next Week and will Reconvene Tuesday, March 30
A Century of Service as the Voice of Alabama Agriculture
1935 In the early '30s, farmers recognized the burden property taxes placed on landowners, especially those who depended on the land for their livelihood. Therefore, the early Alabama Farm Bureau supported implementation of a state income tax, with the understanding the income tax would eventually replace property taxes. The income tax was implemented in 1935.
Your Voice Is More Important Than Ever

With COVID-19 precautions limiting access to the State House for the public and Alabama Farmers Federation External Affairs team, it's vital members develop and maintain strong relationships with legislators in the district. Contact the External Affairs team (below) if you have questions or need assistance contacting your senator or representative.

Capitol Connection | Alabama Farmers Federation | (334) 288-3900 |

 Matthew Durdin - Director, External Affairs Department
 Preston Roberts - Director, Agricultural Legislation
Casey Rogers, Director, State Legislative Programs
John Allen Nichols, Agriculture Counsel
Beth Chapman, Beth Chapman and Associates, LLC