Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) signed six bills earlier this week the state legislature hopes will make Alabama even more military friendly.
Those bills include Senate Bills 28, 99, 116, 119, 141 and 167. All six bills were recommended by the Alabama Military Stability Commission, which is chaired by Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth (R).
“Alabama is the most pro-military state in the nation, and I am proud to put my signature on a series of legislation aimed at ensuring that we are even more military friendly,” said Ivey. “I commend the work by the Military Stability Commission, chaired by Lieutenant Governor Ainsworth, as well as the members of the Alabama Legislature for passing these important bills.”
Ainsworth said, “The men and women from across Alabama who serve on the Military Stability Commission understand the important role that our bases and other infrastructure play in keeping the state’s economy strong and jobs growing. The bills that the Legislature passed, and Governor Ivey signed into law, will assist our mission of making Alabama the nation’s friendliest and most welcoming state for active service members, military veterans and their families.”
State Rep. Dickie Drake (R-Leeds) chairs the House Veterans and Military Affairs Committee. His committee prepared the bills for final passage by the House.
“I am glad that we are continuing to enhance the lives of the military members who come to the state of Alabama,” Drake told 1819 News.
SB 116, sponsored by Sen. Tom Whatley and Rep. Debbie Wood, will ease the process of a military family locating to Alabama. It allows children of active military members moving to Alabama to enroll in local public schools remotely, without having to be physically present in the state.
Three bills - SB99 by Sen. Andrew Jones and Rep. Kenneth Paschal, SB167 by Sen. Shay Shelnutt and carried personally by Drake, and SB141 by Sen. Tom Butler and Rep. Parker Moore - are all aimed at making it easier for military families to find work upon relocating to Alabama. Each of the bills allows for greater flexibility in occupational licensing for military spouses.
SB28, sponsored by Butler and Rep. Andy Whitt, would create the Space National Guard within the Alabama National Guard if the federal government creates the Space National Guard.
Finally, SB119, sponsored by Sen. Will Barfoot and Drake, will aid a military family in the most unfortunate of times. It expands scholarships provided under the Alabama G.I. and Dependents’ Educational Benefit Act to include in-state and private two-and four-year colleges.
Military bases are extremely important to Alabama’s economy. After the loss of Fort McClellan, at one time one of the largest U.S. Army bases in the country, the legislature committed itself to doing whatever was necessary to prepare for the next rounds of base realignments and closings. The purpose of making the state more military-friendly is to protect the bases that we have and attract new missions and commands to those bases if and when there is a possibility of the military relocating units.
Tuesday will be Day 22 of the 2022 Alabama Regular Legislative Session. The legislature has only nine legislative days left in the session to complete its work.
To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email brandon.moseley@1819News.com.