Thursday, January 12, 2006
On this day:

The State of the State

Gov. Riley's proposals for the 2006 legislative session, as outlined in his State of the State speech on Tuesday, include:
  • Mandating full disclosure of how much money lobbyists spend entertaining public officials.
  • Passing a constitutional amendment for legislative term limits.
  • Passing a constitutional amendment to protect private property rights and limit the use of eminent domain.
  • Passing an education budget that increases spending on public education by $1 billion: giving K-12 and higher ed all the money they have requested, providing for a teacher pay raise of up to 5%, adding 5 days to the school calendar, spending $500 million on school construction, repay all the money owed to the state Rainy Day Fund.
  • Cutting taxes by raising the threshold for paying income taxes, increasing the personal tax exemption, and increasing the deduction for dependents for the first time since 1935.
  • Providing for a "back-to-school" sales tax holiday.
  • Increasing funding for the Dept. of Forensic Sciences (the state crime lab) by 19%.
  • Increasing funding for the Dept. of Public Safety by 19% and adding 200 state troopers over two years.
  • Approving a plan to alleviate prison overcrowding.
  • Closing the loophole that allows "slot machines" to be called a "sweepstakes game" or "bingo," thereby making such games illegal.
  • Enacting legislation to ensure that each item of child pornography in someone‚Äôs possession is treated as a separate criminal offense.
  • Making the murder or assault of an unborn child a crime.
The Birmingham News, Mobile Register, Montgomery Advertiser, and Huntsville Times report on the speech and the reaction.