Montgomery Capitol Building

Montgomery Capitol Building

A campaign to remove the state sales tax from groceries is coming down to the Legislature's final meeting today, with proponents unsure they will be able to muster the votes.

Senator Hank Sanders says he's not holding out much hope for the sales tax on food.

But no matter what happens on that bill, the final day of the 2008 session is unlikely to equal the last day of the 2007 session, when Senator Charles Bishop punched Senator Lowell Barron in the head.

Barron said the mood in the Senate has improved since last year and everyone will be on their best behavior.

The Legislature has been in session since February.

The House did much of its work early in the session and has only a few Senate-passed bills to consider.

They include bills that would set experience requirements for lawyers seeking to become judges, restrict smoking in many public places and workplaces, and require people seeking public assistance to prove they are legal residents.

The Senate, which spent much of the last three months shut down by stalling tactics, has a much longer list of House-passed bills to consider.

They include the state education budget and several revenue bills, including the grocery tax proposal.

Some of the bills awaiting action when the Alabama Legislature returns today for its final meeting day:

_remove the state sales tax on groceries, raise the threshold where families start paying the state income tax, and end the state income tax deduction for federal taxes paid.

_make sure Alabamians don't pay state income tax on their federal economic stimulus checks.

_provide a tax break to small businesses and their workers if the businesses provide health insurance to the employees.

_require 44 national corporations to pay more state income tax.

_appropriate $6.3 billion for public schools and universities.

_restrict smoking in many public places and the workplace.

_raise the level of alcohol in beer that can be sold in Alabama to allow more specialty beers.

_allow more towns in dry counties to legalize the sale of liquor.

_restrict the transfer of money between political action committees.