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Legislature Delayed Until At Least March 31

Legislature Delayed Until At Least March 31

Restrictions to limit the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) are likely to impact the regular session of the Alabama Legislatures as well as state budgets.

The House of Representatives was expected to return from the spring break recess on March 26, and the Senate was set to reconvene March 31. Lawmakers have told reporters its unlikely the House will have a quorum next Thursday. Political insiders speculate the Legislature could adjourn sine die March 31, and a special session could be called in late summer.

Two factors driving an early adjournment are restrictions of the current legislative calendar and uncertainty about budgets. State law limits legislative sessions to 30 legislative days over a span of 105 calendar days. Lawmakers have used 12 legislative days thus far, and the last possible day of the 2020 legislative session is May 18. Given restrictions related to COVID-19, it’s unlikely the Legislature could finish its business within the allotted time. 

Additionally, the economic fallout from COVID-19 is still unknown. When the Legislature convened, both the Education Trust Fund and General Fund budgets were expected to have surpluses going into the next fiscal year. Tax revenue is likely to decline, but federal intervention in the wake of COVID-19 could offset a portion of those losses. As a result, the Legislature may delay crafting the budgets.

House Ways and Means General Fund Committee Chairman Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, told Mary Sell of the Alabama Daily News he expects budgets to be impacted by the pandemic.

“I think it could have a dramatic impact,” he said. “I think we’d need to wait as late as possible on the budgets to see how everything develops.”

Click here to read Sell’s full story — https://www.aldailynews.com/lawmakers-looking-for-coronavirus-impact-on-budgets-precautions-could-alter-rest-of-legislative-session/

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