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

Legislative Updates

Legislative Update 02-20-20 from AREA on Vimeo.

Updates from the third week of the current legislative session, including the Small Cell 5G bill; HB147, which would limit municipalities from enacting occupational taxes; and SB165, which would allow and regulate the use of medical marijuana.

Legislative Update 02-14-20 from AREA on Vimeo.

A brief look at the Alabama Legislature’s second week, including two bills, HB 169 involving utility deposits, and SB 172 which would give small cell providers access to utility poles to install 5G antennas.

Legislative Update 02-07-20 from AREA on Vimeo.

The 2020 Legislative Session is under way. A look at the major issues facing lawmakers this year.

Legislative Update 06-03-19 from AREA on Vimeo.

A quick update on our two most important bills that passed this legislative session, SB 90 and HB 400, both dealing with broadband accessibility.

Legislative Update 05-23-19 from AREA on Vimeo.

Updates on passage this week of HB400; SB90 dealing with ADECA grants for broadband comes up Tuesday in the House; SB 315, the “Call Before You Dig” bill, passed the House; and SB 254 dealing with small cell is dead for this session. Download HB400 and additional details here.

Legislative Update 05-17-19 from AREA on Vimeo.

Updates on SB 318, which lowers the age for CDL drivers to 18, and HB 400, which provides clarity for all electric utilities about what their abilities and liabilities are when providing access to fiber to a third party or providing retail broadband. Download HB400 here

Legislative Update 05-06-19 from AREA on Vimeo.

Updates on AREA’s trip last week to Washington, DC to meet with our congressional delegation; HB 400 passed the House Thursday, 92-2, after a long filibuster; the Education Trust Fund budget passed, containing $30 million for broadband grants; and swift passage of SB 318 and HB 479, which would lower the age of CDL drivers to 18 for intrastate driving.

Legislative Update 04-22-19 from AREA on Vimeo.

HB 400 dealing with broadband services and utility easements had a public hearing last week and the interests of rural electric cooperatives were well represented. We also tell you about SB 315 dealing with mandatory membership in One Call, and SB 264, the small cell bill, whose passage is now looking doubtful.

Legislative Update 04-12-19 from AREA on Vimeo.

Updates on several bills of interest, including SB90 on broadband, SB 264 dealing with small cell 5G lines, and HB 400 on easements, which has a public hearing Wednesday at 4 p.m. at the Statehouse. See talking points here.

Legislative Update 04-05-19 from AREA on Vimeo.

The Legislature returned from its spring break with a lot on its plate: a shocking DOJ report on state prisons, three different lottery proposals, legislation involving medical marijuana and a rewrite of the ethics law. We update you on SB90 dealing with broadband grants, legislation involving utility easements expected next week, and income tax credits for residential solar. Plus the governor officially kicked off Alabama Counts: 2020 Census.

Legislative Update 03-25-19 from AREA on Vimeo.

The Alabama Legislature is on spring break this week, but we’ve got an update on bills that have been introduced that are of interest to our co-ops, including SB 23 which would eliminate police jurisdictions, SB 90 which would correct some problems with previous legislation regarding broadband grants, and HB 79/SB 159 regarding railroad crossings and broadband.

Legislative Update 03-18-19 from AREA on Vimeo.

How will Alabama’s new infrastructure package affect your co-op service territory? Sean talks to Sen. Clyde Chambliss of Prattville about the details of the legislation that passed in the recent Special Session.

Legislative Update 03-23-18 from AREA on Vimeo.

SB 148, the Rural Broadband Bill, and SB 289 dealing with approach distances both passed in the Legislature this week and are in the Governor’s office for her signature. SB 318 dealing with data breaches passed the House and awaits concurrence by the Senate. Sign up for the ACRE Golf Tournament April 3! Contact Sean at 334-215-2732, ext. 211.

Legislative Update 03-16-18 from AREA on Vimeo.

Action on the General Fund and Education Trust fund budgets; SB 149 on rural broadband gets a public hearing; Senate passes SB 289 on approach distances, and SB 318 on data breaches. Next week the Legislature will meet three days.

Legislative Update 03-12-18 from AREA on Vimeo.

Youth Tour delegates meet with legislators at the Statehouse; SB 149, the rural broadband bill, will be the subject of a public hearing Wednesday at 9 a.m. in Room 200 at the Statehouse; Senate passes data breach legislation; approach distances legislation update.

Legislative Update 03-2-18 from AREA on Vimeo.

Changes are afoot with SB 149, the rural broadband bill. SB 289 involving approach distances possible for calendar action. Joint study committee will look at improving current ethics laws. Alabama Youth Tour heads to the Capitol on Thursday, March 8. Encourage your local legislator to meet the students from their area.

Legislative Update 02-23-18 from AREA on Vimeo.

The Senate passed the General Fund budget; SB 149 regarding rural broadband is facing opposition from cable TV companies; SB 289 involving approach distances is waiting to be placed on the Special Order Calendar.
Download SB140 Talking Points:

Legislative Update 02-16-18 from AREA on Vimeo.

The Alabama House passed the Education Trust Fund budget and the General Fund cleared a Senate Committee, as did SB 289 involving approach distances. While SB 149, the Alabama rural broadband bill, is making progress, electric cooperatives still need to advocate for it with their local legislators. On the federal level, NRECA is recommending that at least $2.5 billion of the administration’s proposed $10 billion infrastructure fund go to rural broadband, and specifically be targeted toward the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee to fund RUS broadband programs.

Legislative Update 02-14-18 from AREA on Vimeo.

SB 149, our rural broadband legislation, is waiting for a hearing; A look at who has qualified for state and federal elections. SB 289 regarding approach distances is in committee. Talking Points: bit.ly/SB149talkingpoints

Legislative Update 02-02-18 from AREA on Vimeo.

Progress on SB 149, the rural broadband bill; news about legislation increasing the minimum approach distance; and Energy Day Tuesday, Feb. 6. Talking Points: bit.ly/SB149talkingpoints

Legislative Update 01-31-18 from AREA on Vimeo.

Legislative Update 01-19-18 from AREA on Vimeo.

This week’s snowfall affected the Alabama Legislature, resulting in a short work week. A committee meeting on SB 149, the rural broadband bill by Sen. Clay Scofield, will be Wednesday, Jan. 24 at 2:30 p.m. HB 152, which would give tax credits for investments in agribusiness companies, was introduced.

Legislative Update 01-16-18 from AREA on Vimeo.

Our first 2018 Legislative Update of the year looks at Gov. Kay Ivey’s first State of the State Address and SB 149 by Sen. Clay Scofield, which would provide a tax credit of up to 10 percent to broadband companies investing in rural and underserved Alabama.

Legislative Report 06-16-17 from AREA on Vimeo.

This week’s Legislative Update spotlights our 2017 AREA Youth Tour. The tour was a great success, with 58 students getting to meet their U.S. congressmen and senator on Capitol Hill this week. Many thanks to the chaperones and all of you who support our students and allow them to make this life-changing trip to learn about our country and the principles of rural electric cooperatives.

Legislative Report 05-24-17 from AREA on Vimeo.

The Alabama Legislature adjourned Friday, May 19, having passed the fewest number of bills in recent memory. Both an Education Trust Fund budget and General Fund budget were passed, but the legislature’s failure to address prison overcrowding will likely lead to federal court action. The redistricting bill which was passed is expected to be challenged in court. Changes continue within the gubernatorial branch.

Legislative Update Videos

Legislative Report 05-12-17 from AREA on Vimeo.

The Alabama Legislature heads into its final week May 16 having passed the General Fund Budget and sending the Education Trust Fund budget to a conference committee. There’s good news and bad news on SB 253, the broadband incentives bill, plus Sean shares information about a court casing involving workers compensation law that could affect our cooperatives.

Legislative Report 04-17-17 from AREA on Vimeo.

A look at activity by the Alabama Legislature, which has completed 17 days of the current session. The Senate passed SB 253, which establishes incentives for rural broadband initiatives. It now goes to the House. SB 257 by Sen. Arthur Orr, which would expand incentives for investment in farm irrigation, passed the full Senate and a House committee last Thursday. Legislation which would have raised the gas tax four cents in October for road and bridge construction, and nine cents overall by 2024, is dead for this session.

It was great to see everyone at the ACRE Golf Tournament and the 2017 Annual Meeting last week. Thanks to all who participated!

Legislative Report 03-20-17 from AREA on Vimeo.

The Alabama Legislature has completed 13 days of the current session. The House passed the General Fund budget with most areas receiving level funding. The Senate Finance and Taxation Committee approved a $6.4 million Education Trust Fund budget, which then went to the full Senate where members adjourned for the two-week break before any action was taken. Negotiations are still ongoing over SB 253 regarding broadband incentives. Co-op employees should be vigilant regarding the possible spread of Avian flu in poultry operations in North Alabama.

Legislative Report 03-13-17 from AREA on Vimeo.

Ten days of the current legislative session are complete. A look at last week’s action, including changes made to SB 253 regarding incentives for rural broadband access, updates on a set of bills regarding the city of Opelika’s broadband services, and video of our 154 young people visiting the Statehouse and meeting your local representatives as part of the 2017 AREA Montgomery Youth Tour on Wednesday, March 8.

Legislative Report 03-03-17 from AREA on Vimeo.

The Alabama Legislature has completed eight days of its current session. The new House Majority Leader has a co-op connection; seven resolutions from the Southern States Energy Board are being reviewed; SB 253 involving incentives for broadband expansion was introduced and changes are expected; and a bill that would change the way deer are hunted has passed the House.

Legislative Report 02-24-17 from AREA on Vimeo.

Updates on legislation affecting Alabama’s electric cooperatives after six days of the current legislative session: Election of a new House majority leader set next week; amendment offered to “clean up” SB 158 dealing with the Permanent Joint Legislative Committee on Energy Policy Committee; amendment for SB 123 affecting scholarship organizations under the Alabama Accountability Act; four separate Senate bills dealing with expansion of broadband service in the city of Opelika; and more broadband incentive bills expected next week.

Legislative Update, Feb. 21, 2017 from AREA on Vimeo.

A quick look at the first four days of the 2017 Legislation Session of the Alabama Legislature, including bills dealing with the Permanent Joint Legislative Committee on Energy Policy, scholarship organizations under the Alabama Accountability Act, and discussions involving rural broadband.

Alabama voters will see 14 statewide constitutional amendments on ballot
In addition to the much-publicized presidential race, voters in Alabama will also vote on these offices in the Nov. 8 general election:
  •       U.S. Senate
  •       U.S. House of Representative (seven seats)
  •       Supreme Court, associate justice (three seats)
  •       Public Service Commission president
  •       State Board of Education (four seats)
  •       Circuit court judges (various seats)
  •       District court judges
  •       District attorneys
  •       Various county offices

But there will also be 14 statewide constitutional amendments on the ballot, ranging from replacing antiquated language to local issues. Below are summaries of the constitutional amendments, with guidance from AREA staff. This guidance does not mean an endorsement of the amendment it is what AREA feels the appropriate public policy should be. Also, we encourage you to study this PARCA analysis, where you can get detailed information to make an informed decision on the amendments.

For more information on voting in the general election, visit www.alabamavotes.gov, the state’s official election center, or call 800-274-8683.

Legislative Update, May 9, 2016 from AREA on Vimeo.

The Alabama Legislature concluded its regular session without acting on some major legislation that would have decided how the state would spend funds from the BP oil spill settlement, and a bond issue to shore up the state’s failing prison system. Lawmakers did pass SB 335, regulating municipal use of third party tax auditors and collectors, and SB 218, which permits cities to narrow their police jurisdictions from 3 to 1.5 miles. Future updates will explore these and other legislative issues in more detail.

Legislative Update, May 2, 2016 from AREA on Vimeo.

With two days left in the regular session, the Alabama Legislature’s agenda includes possible passage of a $800 million bond issue for the state’s prison system; action by the Senate on BP oil spill settlement money to provide one-time funding for Medicaid; the impeachment process heads to a committee; and likely passage of a bill involving municipal use of third party tax collectors and auditors.

Legislative Update, March 30 2016 from AREA on Vimeo.

The Alabama Legislature is in recess this week. Last week, the Senate concurred with the House on the General Fund budget, which Gov. Bentley has vowed to veto; legislation involving third party tax collectors and auditors received a public hearing and a substitute bill is being prepared; gas tax legislation may come up for a vote in the House; SB 218 by Sen. Cam Ward changing the distance of police jurisdictions will be before the House; discussions have been heard about possible renewal portfolio standards for the state; and HB34, the Alabama Renewal Act economic development package, has been signed by the governor.

Legislative Update , March 21, 2016 from AREA on Vimeo.

As the Alabama Legislature begins the 8th week of its session, we look back at last week’s activity, including:
AREA Montgomery Youth Tour brings more than 150 cooperative students to the Statehouse to listen and learn from their legislators; the General Fund passes the House and heads to the Senate with amendments; the Senate approves a Right to Work constitutional amendment; public hearing Wednesday on HB 375 involving municipal use of third party tax collectors and auditors; and bills authorizing a 6-cent per gallon gasoline tax and setting up the funding mechanism for that tax, which will be designated for road improvements.

Legislative Update, March 14, 2016 from AREA on Vimeo.

The Alabama Legislature enters its 7th week on Tuesday, the 15th legislative day. Last week, the House passed the Education Trust Fund budget, but a filibuster by Democrats over the funding of Medicaid delayed any other substantive action. The Senate will take up the education budget this week. Two bills have been introduced which would prevent cities from hiring third party entities to conduct audits or collect municipal taxes. As a result of a recent webinar, information will be forthcoming regarding FEMA’s reimbursements to co–ops for disaster recovery work.

Legislative Update , March 7, 2016 from AREA on Vimeo.

The Alabama Legislature enters the sixth week of the current session on Tuesday. In today’s Legislative Update, we brief you on action taken on legislation involving police jurisdictions, incentives for broadband expansion, a state response to the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, the Education Trust Fund in the House, and good news about the recent primary election results.

Legislative Update, February 29, 2016 from AREA on Vimeo.

As the Alabama Legislature enters the fifth week of this session, we update you on third party solar financing legislation, bills involving the EPA and Clean Power Plan, police jurisdictions, broadband incentives and state budgets.

Reminder: Don’t forget to vote on Tuesday, March 1. For election information, go to alabamavotes.gov.

Legislative Update, February 22, 2016 from AREA on Vimeo.

A recap of activity in the third week of the Alabama Legislature: House passage of a uniform minimum wage bill, a right to work Constitutional Amendment bill, and legislation authorizing deer baiting; the Senate starts work on the General Fund budget.

Specific bills of interest to AREA: incentive bills for expansion of broadband access, legislation affecting the size of police jurisdictions, and a public hearing on SB56 which would expand the limits of broadband access beyond the city of Opelika, but which could affect any municipality in the state.

Legislative Update, February 15, 2016 from AREA on Vimeo.

Good news from the U.S. Supreme Court, which has granted an unprecedented stay of the ERA’s Clean Power Plan; a look at bills in the Alabama Legislature involving incentives for providers of rural broadband access, size reductions of police jurisdictions, and proposed changes affecting defined benefit retirement plans.

AREA Legislative Update, February 5, 2016 from AREA on Vimeo.

The Alabama Legislature returned for its 2016 session on Tuesday. The Special Education Trust Fund has plenty of revenue, but not so the General Fund, which may be in worse shape than last year. We take a look at legislation of interest to electric cooperatives, including HB 92 by Rep. Lynn Greer which would make pension plans subject to state income tax, SB 56 which would allow the city to expand broadband services outside the city limits of Opelika, and HB 110 by Rep. Becky Norgren, which would place cable tv operations under control of the Alabama Public Service Commission.