Week Five Legislative Report: A third of the Regular Session is done

February 12, 2018

By Beth Marietta Lyons
Lyons Law Firm

The Alabama Legislature convened for day 9 of the annual Regular Session on Tuesday, February 6 with 28 committee meetings held throughout the week to consider legislation. Both Houses then convened on Thursday, February 8 for Day 10.

With day 10 completed, one-third of the 30 day Annual Regular Session has been completed. There have been 699 bills introduced to date.

The Legislature will return to Montgomery on Tuesday, February 13 for day 11 of the Session with the House and Senate convening at 2:00 p.m. Sixteen committees have scheduled meetings as of the time of this report.

Significant Introductions This Week:

A bill was introduced in the House that would authorize the State Fire Marshal to regulate and issue pyrotechnic display operator licenses and pyrotechnic special effects operator licenses to persons who provide fireworks displays, pyrotechnics, and related special effects to an audience. The bill is pending in the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee [HB376 by Representative Barbara Drummond].

A bill was introduced in the House that would increase the fees collected by the State Fire Marshal for issuing permits in the regulation of the manufacturing, sale, and display of fireworks and for the use of pyrotechnics in close proximity to an audience, and provide for the distribution of the fee. The bill is pending in the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee [HB382 by Representative Craig Ford].

A bill was introduced in the House that would provide that the markup of alcoholic beverages sold by the ABC Board may only be increased by a law enacted by the Legislature. The bill is pending in the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee [HB380 by Representative Arnold Mooney].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would authorize the storage, selling, and dispensing of certain agricultural products by weight through vending machines. The bill in pending in the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee [SB282 by Senator Tom Whatley].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would allow the Commissioner of Revenue to reimburse the Attorney General or district attorney for costs of actions, proceedings, and prosecutions associated with violations of tax laws. The bill is pending in the Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee [SB286 by Senator Greg Albritton].

A proposed Constitutional Amendment was introduced in the Senate that would include appropriations for public postsecondary education and public instititions of higher education, and terminate any dedication of taxes and revenues for special purposes. The bill is pending in the Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee [SB292 by Senator Bill Hightower].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would add roasted coffees to the list of in-home cottage food production that are exempt from regulation by the State Department of Health and county health departments. The bill is pending in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee [SB297 by Senator Rusty Glover].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would require the ABC Board to phase out retail sales of alcoholic beverages by the Board by October 1, 2023. The bill is pending in the Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee [SB298 by Senator Arthur Orr].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would, over a 4 year period, incrementally increase state sales and use tax on non-food items and decrease state sales and use tax on food items. The bill is pending in the Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee [SB299 by Senator Gerald Dial].

A bill was introduced in the House that would require each local board of education to establish a local school calendar providing 1,050 instructional hours, instead of 180 instructional days, beginning with the 2018-2019 school year. The bill is pending in the House Education Policy Committee [HB396 by Representative Craig Ford].

A bill was introduced in the House that would prohibit elected state officials from placing his or her likeness on materials, publications and advertising media produced using appropriated federal, state or local funds unless prohibited by federal law. The bill is pending in the House Governmental Affairs Committee [SB285 by Senator Greg Albritton].

A bill was introduced in both Houses that would require all county superintendents be appointed by the county board of education, except as otherwise provided by the Alabama Constitution [HB389 by Representative Steve McMillan and SB280 by Senator Dick Brewbaker].

Significant Committee Action This Week:

The House Ways and Means Education Committee held a public hearing and gave a favorable report to the $6.63 billion Education Trust Fund Budget which includes funds for a 2.5% increase for K-12 employees, 197 additional middle school teachers, a $20 million increase for Pre-K, a $16 million increase for community colleges, a $27 million increase for 4 year colleges, and a $450,000 increase for public libraries. The bill now goes to the full House [HB175 by Representative Bill Poole].

The House Boards, Agencies and Commissions Committee amended and gave a favorable report to a Sunset bill that would extend the State Pilotage Commission until Octover 1, 2020. An amendment was adopted which removed a Senate amendment to increase the commission from 3 members to 4. The bill now goes to the full House [SB74 by Senator Paul Bussman].

The Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee gave a favorable report to a House bill that would prohibit municipalities from regulating transportation network companies (Uber, Lyft) and provide for permitting and licensing by the Public Service Commission. The bill now goes to the full Senate [HB190 by Representative David Faulkner].

The Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee held a public hearing, but did not vote, on a bill that would provide for a wine direct shipper license to allow for shipment of limited quantities of wine directly to Alabama residents for personal use [SB243 by Senator Bill Holtzclaw].

The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee substituted and gave a favorable report to a House bill that would substantially revise the provisions governing the operation of the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts. The bill is now goes to the full Senate [HB131 by Representative Chris Pringle].

The Senate Government Affairs Committee amended and gave a favorable report to a House bill that would require the Commissioner of the Department of Revenue to convene the first meeting of the Alabama Land Bank Authority Board and allow the Board to obtain the state’s interest in real property acquired as a result of its sale for delinquent state taxes and retained in the state’s inventory for a period of five or more years. The bill now goes to the full Senate [HB54 by Representative Ron Johnson].

The House Health Committee substituted and gave a favorable report to a bill that would require abortion providers to refund fees paid for an abortion if the woman withdraws her consent before the abortion is performed. The bill now goes to the full House [HB52 by Representative Kerry Rich].

The House Health Committee held a public hearing, but did not vote, on a Senate bill that would add Fentanyl and synthetic Fentanyl analogues to Schedule I of the controlled substances list and provide criminal penalties for trafficking of these drugs [SB39 by Senator Cam Ward].

The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee held a public hearing, but did not vote, on a bill that would set the term of all deferred presentment transactions (payday loans) at 30 calendar days [SB138 by Senator Arthur Orr].

The House Ways and Means General Fund Committee gave favorable reports to two bills that would extend the nursing facility privilege assessment and private hospital assessment that help fund Medicaid for a period of 1 year. The bills now go to the full House [HB321 and HB322 by Representative Steve Clouse].

The House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee gave a favorable report to a Senate bill that would allow qualified retired law enforcement officers to carry firearms in certain designated places where firearms are otherwise not allowed. The bill now goes to the full House [SB27 by Senator Jimmy Holley].

The House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee gave a favorable report to a Senate bill that would require persons approved for a pretrial diversion program to have an ignition interlock device installed for a certain period of time and provide for distribution of court fees. The bill now goes to the full House [SB1 by Senator Jim McClendon].

The House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee gave a favorable report to a Senate bill that would provide procedures for the disposal of abandoned or derelict vessels. The bill now goes to the full House [SB50 by Senator Trip Pittman].

The House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would require vehicles to use lighted headlamps from sunset to sunrise instead of from a half hour after sunset to a half our before sunrise. The bill now goes to the full House [HB333 by Representative Ritchie Whorton].

The House Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure Committee gave a favorable report to a Senate bill that would establish the Alabama Infrastructure Bank to provide for the appropriation and pledge of certain tax revenues, motor vehicle license taxes and registration fees, diesel fuel tax revenues, and motor carrier tax revenues. The bill now goes to the full House [SB100 by Senator Arthur Orr].

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would require commercial food service establishments that utilize grease traps to provide locking manhole covers or otherwise secure the covers against unauthorized access. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB258 by Senator Tom Whatley].

The Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would provide that a party desiring to redeem property sold to the state for unpaid taxes would pay interest only on the taxes due at the time of default. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB257 by Senator Hank Sanders].

The House Judiciary Committee amended and gave a favorable report to a bill that would authorize a municipal court judge to remit court costs where it is determined a defendant cannot afford to pay the full amount and remove the authority of a mayor to commute sentences. The bill now goes to the full House [HB338 by Representative Chris England].

The House Ways and Means General Fund Committee gave a favorable report to a Senate bill that would establish procedures by which the state Medicaid Agency could place a lien on the real property of a recipient or file a claim against the estate of a deceased recipient. The bill now goes to the full House [SB93 by Senator Arthur Orr].

The House County and Municipal Government Committee amended and gave a favorable report to a bill that would revise the tax lien sale procedures for counties to authorize tax liens to be sold at auction to the bidder with the lowest interest rate. The bill now goes to the full House [HB354 by Representative Corey Ellis].

The House State Government Committee held a public hearing and gave a favorable report to a bill that would create an exception that would allow the surviving spouse of a law enforcement officer, firefighter, rescue squad member, or certain volunteer firefighters, killed in the line of duty to continue to receive benefits after remarriage, and would extend benefits to a surviving minor child until the age of majority. The bill now goes to the full House [HB192 by Representative Matt Fridy].

The House State Government Committee substituted and gave a favorable report to a proposed Constitutional Amendment that would require the Forever Wild Land Trust to annually reimburse the amount of al valorem tax revenue lost as a result of property previously subject to ad valorem tax being acquired by the Forever Wild Land Trust. The bill now goes to the full House [HB362 by Representative Mark Tuggle].

The Senate Constitution, Ethics and Elections Committee amended and gave a favorable report to a proposed Constitutional Amendment that would allow displays of the Ten Commandments or other religious displays on state property including public schools. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB181 by Senator Gerald Dial].

Significant Floor Action This Week:

The House passed, following a lengthy debate, a bill that would permit, but not mandate, the use of the national motto “In God We Trust” by government agencies and offices, in and on public buildings, including government office buildings, public school classrooms, and on vehicles. The bill is now pending in the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee [HB228 by Representative David Standridge].

The House passed a Senate bill that would revise some of the procedures related to the Alabama Disaster Recovery Program. The bill now goes to the Governor [SB43 by Senator Greg Albritton].

The House passed a bill that would provide that the state salary of an official court reporter would conform to the pay scale established by the State of Alabama Personnel Department Pay Plan for state employees, would establish the specific pay grade and step rate, and would make him or her subject to any cost-of-living and merit raises given to state employees. The bill is now pending in the Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee [HB106 by Representative Paul Lee].

The House amended and passed a bill that would allow first-time home buyers to establish a savings account to save funds for a down payment and closing costs for the purchase of a home and provide for a state tax deduction. The bill is now in the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee [HB248 by Representative Kyle South].

The Senate passed a bill that would increase the membership of the State Pilotage Commission from 3 to 4 with the 4th member to be a retiree from active duty in certain armed forces or active in the maritime industry. The bill is now pending in the House Boards, Agencies and Commission Committee [SB222 by Senator Trip Pittman].

The Senate amended and passed a bill that would allow a municipality to authorize a law enforcement officers to issue a summons and complaint in lieu of custodial arrest for all misdemeanors and violations, with certain exceptions. The bill is now pending in the House Judiciary Committee [SB154 by Senator Tim Melson].

The Senate amended and passed a bill that would criminalize the act of recording or attempting to record an image or video of the private, intimate body parts of another person without his or her consent. The bill now goes to the House [SB57 by Senator Clyde Chambliss].

The House passed a bill that would abolish boards, commissions, committees, task forces and authorities that are inactive or inoperable. The bill is now pending in the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee [HB22 by Representative Chris Pringle].

The House passed a bill that would provide for the regulation of tagging of oysters and require an annual oyster aquaculture license. The bill is now pending in the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee [HB302 by Representative David Sessions].

The Senate passed a bill that would exempt the gross proceeds from the sale of gold, silver, platinum, and palladium bullion from the state sales and use tax for five years. The bill is now pending in the House Ways and Means Education Committee [SB156 by Senator Tim Melson].

The Senate passed a bill that would establish a 12-year or 200,000 mile depreciation schedule for funding for the depreciation in value for school buses. The bill is now pending in the House Ways and Means Education Committee [SB202 by Senator Paul Bussman].

The Senate passed a bill that would require the Department of Revenue to develop and make available a single point of filing and payment system for county and municipal motor fuel taxes, and require the standardization of county and municipal motor fuel taxes. The bill now goes to the House [SB219 by Senator Shay Shelnutt].

The House passed a Senate bill that would increase the time frame required for a teacher to give notice before terminating his or her employment from five to thirty days. The bill now goes to the Governor [SB14 by Senator Gerald Dial].

Budgets:

  • The General Fund Budget, SB178 by Sen. Pittman, is pending in the Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee.
  • The Education Trust Fund Budget, HB175 by Rep. Poole, has received a favorable report from the House Ways and Means Education Committee and is pending action by the full House.

Summary:

  • House bills introduced: 400
  • Senate bills introduced: 299
  • Total bills introduced: 699
  • Bills that have passed house of origin: 183
  • Bills that have passed both houses: 30
  • Bills pending the governor’s signature: 15
  • Bills Vetoed: 0
  • Constitutional amendment bills pending referendum: 3
  • Bills enacted: 12

Week Five Legislative Report: A third of the Regular Session is done

by Beth Lyons Read Time: 14 min
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