By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Little in the way of pre-filed bills have been recorded on ALISON so far this year. With just eleven days before the start of the 2015 legislative session, only 12 bills have been filed in the House. This is unusual for a body that has been known to pre-file as many as 150 pieces of proposed legislation prior to the session.
The bills are as follows:
HB1—Butler—Alabama Student Religious Liberties Act of 2015—Religious expression in schools—Public Schools. This bill would prohibit school districts from discrimination on basis of religious viewpoint or expression; allow religious expression in class assignments, coursework, and artwork; freedom to organize, require to adopt policy regarding voluntary student expression of religious viewpoints.
HB2—Clouse—Representing oneself as recipient of certain decorations or medals authorized by the US Congress for the US Armed Forces or US Armed Forces with intent to defraud would be a Class A misdemeanor violation.
HB3—Jackson—Prohibits carrying weapon into a place of worship even with a permit.
HB4—Bulter—To allow a person who is the sole shareholder of a corporation, sole owner of a business or member of an LLC with five members or less to represent their company in a court of law.
HB5—Chesteen—Temporarily removes the date parameters in the Flexible School Calendar Act of 2012 and allow each local school board of education to provide the required 180 full instructional days based on an no less than 1080 hours.
HB6—Greer—Municipalities with more than 12,000 inhabitants according to 1970 federal census or incorporated after 1979 will fill a vacancy in the mayor’s office with the president of the city council president.
HB7—Harbison—Would allow each municipality to license and regulate liquor stores operated by the ABC Board that are located in its jurisdiction.
HB8—England—Require operators of websites containing an arrest photograph and personal information of a person charged with a crime (that has been acquitted or charges have been dropped, or resolved without conviction) to remove information at the request of the person or be subjected to the Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
HB9—McCutcheon—Would require applicants for licensure as a polygraph examiner to complete two sets of fingerprints to the board, forwarded to the State Bureau of Investigations, and the FBI. It will also require consent to release criminal background information to the board.
HB10—Poole—Would provide that the court may not waive, set aside, or fail to collect any court costs and docket fees.
HB11—Poole—Add circuit judge to Tuscaloosa Co., 6th Judicial Circuit designated as Circuit Judgeship Number 7. Bill conditional upon adoption of resolution by county commission to provide funding. Election in 2016.
HB12—Ford—Limited waiver of State licensing requirements for athletic team physicians who are licensed in another state when traveling with their team to a sporting event.
None of these 12 are particularly meaty or by Alabama standards, controversial.
If the past four year are prologue, their should be at least 50 bills in the hopper ready for committee assignments; but to date only 12. This has led a few House observers to speculate that Speaker Mike Hubbard has a tight fist on the agenda of the House and wants to keep the substance of his plan under wraps until the last possible minute. Hubbard has always controlled the House with a tight rein, but it is said that he has become even more controlling and secretive since his indictment on 23 felony counts of public corruption.
Rumors continue to swirl around the State House that Hubbard plans to have legislation carried that would limit the power of the Attorney General to prosecute white collar crimes, and to cut the number of Supreme Court and Appeals Court Justices.