State Senator Andrew Jones spoke to the Centre Rotary Club on Monday covering a wide variety of subjects including the flooding of Weiss Lake.
Senator Jone told the group the Army Corp of Engineers is considering increasing the winter pool of the lake by three feet but he said that could be something that needs to be looked at long term given the flooding of the lake last year and this year. He said he’s been monitoring the situation in the County and the Governor is aware of the flooding situation. Jones also spoke to the Highway 411 project now underway between Leesburg and Gadsden. He said the construction company is making good progress but it is still a long term project that could take 4 to 5 years to complete.
On the legislative update, he said they were having a banner year in Montgomery trying to take care of many items they didn’t get to address last year due to the COVID outbreak. He said a lot of the State’s business went undone and the Legislature is trying to get caught up this year covering as many items as possible . Jones told the group, the State’s General Fund and Education Budgets were very sound and the Legislature is on track to pass the largest General Fund and Education Budget in the State’s history. He said educators would receive a pay increase in this year’s budget that they could not give last year due to the uncertainty of the economic situation in the midst of the Pandemic.
The Senator also touched on the Prison System which has been sued by the Federal Government due to overcrowding. He said the Governor has proposed a leasing system but the Legislature is considering a bond issue to fund the Prison System adequately.
He discussed the Lottery and Gaming Issue in the State and discussed why the first Issue failed. Jones said many counties now have gambling in the form of Bingo and other gaming options and their Legislators are trying to protect that for their area. He said it takes a two thirds vote of the Senate to get the bill out to the Public for a vote on the issue.
Jones said the Legislature did pass a COVID liability bill to give relief to small businesses, churches, schools and other non profits if someone did contract the virus while visiting one of those businesses providing they had been following the recommended guidelines.
This was just a short synopsis of all the Topics discussed by the Senator.