Monday marks final day of legislative session

MADISON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - Monday marks the final day of the 2013 legislative session.

Alabama lawmakers still have a lot on their plates and little time to get it all done. It's down to the wire for some important bills.

There is a good chance lawmakers won't be able to get to everything on their to-do list.

They have 15 hours to wrap up the session. That includes taking votes on several key issues that deal with guns, welfare, and tax credits.

Among them, the gun bill that would allow firearms in workplace parking lots. It already passed in the Senate, now it's up to the House of Representatives.

"There is a lot more law enforcement experience in the House. We just need one more vote in the House and I believe we will get that pretty quick," said Representative Mike Ball.

Two bills involving welfare are also at the top of the list. One would require drug testing for those with a drug conviction in the last five years. The other would prevent people from using cash benefits to buy things like alcohol or cigarettes.

Both have passed the Senate and are now pending in the House.

"If the adults are spending it on liquor and cigarettes, that is certainly not going to the children. We don't have an enforcement provision in our state law for this and this is something I think will pass," said Senator Arthur Orr.

Then there is the governor's proposed amendment to the Alabama Accountability Act.

Governor Bentley is now calling for a two-year delay in implementing school tax credits. It's an about-face that has taken many lawmakers by surprise.

"The governor stood with us. He was all about the scholarship portion that would allow kids who are underprivileged to get out of failing school systems. That was his idea," Representative Ed Henry.

Bentley says the delay would allow failing schools to improve and the state to pay back its debt. His proposal isn't getting widespread support, even from fellow Republicans.

The session begins Monday at 9 a.m. and must end by midnight.

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