Welcome! The Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives (AREA) is a member-owned federation of 22 electric distribution cooperatives.

Budgets will again dominate 2016 Alabama Legislature

This upcoming session in many ways will be a repeat of last year, says AREA’s vice president of public affairs Sean Strickler: plenty of funding for the Education Trust Fund but still lean times for the General Fund.  Finding monies for the General Fund will be tough and cuts will be even tougher.

There will also be some legislation dealing with teacher tenure, which will be controversial.  It could take a lot of the legislative session to come to an agreement on whether or not to change this system.

Gas taxes will be hotly debated, since there are a lot of infrastructure needs in this state and the only way to fund them is through gas taxes.  It will be interesting to see if the legislators tackle the issue or say we have enough funding for our roads.

As the electric utility industry is constantly evolving, especially dealing with federal mandates, there are always issues that come out during the session.

Strickler, along with another co-chair, will preside over the Alabama Council of Association Executives’ Legislative Issues Seminar on Jan. 28 at the Capitol Auditorium. Strickler is co-chair of the ACAE Governmental Affairs Committee. Officials expected to participate in the seminar include Gov. Robert Bentley, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh and House Speaker Mike Hubbard.