Legislature looks to busy session

Published 4:22 pm Monday, January 9, 2012

The Alabama budget will be the key factor discussed when the legislature reconvenes
next month in Montgomery, state Rep. Alan Baker said.
Many issues will receive attention in the upcoming session, which will officially begin
Tuesday, Feb. 7, but the budget will likely be the first and most pressing item on the
agenda according to Baker.
“The general funds budget will have a $400 million short fall we’ll have to deal with
which makes it very challenging,” said Baker, R-Brewton.
Baker said while fiscal responsibility must be achieved the legislature will also see a host
of items that are currently weighing heavily on Alabamians, including the state’s new
immigration law.
“There are a lot of previsions and adjustments that need to be made to the bill,” Baker
said. “I do think that when bills are passed there is sometimes unforeseen or unintended
consequences so I think this not anything that is so abnormal with a bill, to have to go
back and tweak certain aspects of it.”
Baker said, while the bill has been controversial, the trickle down affect from
Washington’s inability to deal effectively with immigration has made state action an
“I feel that immigration should be an issue that should be dealt with at the federal level,”
Baker said. “But the federal government has not acted responsibly at enforcing its
immigration laws. I think the view has been expressed through polling that Alabamians
wanted tougher immigration laws, so the legislature acted upon what Alabamians
expressed they wanted.”
Baker said aside from the budget and hashing out the details of immigration laws, the
legislature’s highest priority will be the economy.
“Our top focus will be job creation and the economy,” he said. “Anything we can do
to drive from the legislative aspect and provide an atmosphere and climate for existing
businesses to expand as well as new businesses to come into our state. We’ll be very
focused on that.”
Baker said an important aspect of strengthening the state’s economy will be aiding
veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan in finding employment.
“The military that are coming back from Afghanistan or Iraq, those that are unemployed,
we will give a $2,000 credit to businesses that employ those military personnel,” Baker

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