Bryant Sees Progress on His Agenda

By: Mike McDaniel Email
By: Mike McDaniel Email

Gov. Phil Bryant says he's making progress on goals he laid out in his State of the State address.

The governor says there's still a lot of work to be done, even though most of his priorities are gaining traction and are already in bill form.

"All of this won't become law this year, but we begin the process," he said.

With the legislative session extended this year and controlled by Republicans, Bryant has an edge in making sure that process, in areas like education, stays in the spotlight.

Bryant said it starts with getting the youngest students on the same page.

"My hope is that we get a unified learning program across every center where we have children," said the governor.

A dual enrollment bill in the House and Senate, as well as a charter school bill in the Senate, both fall in line with what Bryant says are much needed pieces of legislation to ensure higher academic standards and a post graduation workforce.

"I asked in my State of the State for a workable charter school program and I just fully believe we are going to get that," Bryant said.

Budget reform is also making its way through both chambers by way of the Smart Budget Act, which would create a performance based budget for state agencies.

"The law currently requires every state agency to put performance-based budgeting measures in their budgeting," said Bryant. "We're just not checking. It would be like saying we're going to have a speed limit but no highway patrolmen."

Bryant's push for energy efficiency and development, as well as expanded health care zones across the state, are also making progress. But when it comes to making sure his entire agenda is taken up, he says it'll take some time. He said he knows it won't all become law through one session, especially with drastic changes in leadership.

"It is a lot for them to absorb," he said. "To take on a chairmanship, try to balance a difficult budget, to deal with an exploding Medicaid population and a governor who has sweeping changes."

Bryant says he is also going to support two controversial bills.

The first is the one limiting the power of the attorney general which passed the House earlier this week. The second is an immigration bill similar to the law in Alabama. That bill is still in committee.

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