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Week 8: Alabama Legislative Report — April 14

Contributed by Beth Marietta Lyons
Lyons Law Firm

The Alabama Legislature convened in Session for Day 16 of the annual Regular Session on Tuesday, April 11, held 34 committee meetings throughout the week, and convened in Session on Thursday for Day 17.

There have been 882 bills introduced to date.

The Legislature will return to Montgomery on Tuesday, April 18 for Legislative Day 18 of the Session with the House convening at 1:00 p.m. and the Senate convening at 2:00 p.m.

During the Week

After pleading guilty to 2 misdemeanor campaign violations, Robert Bentley resigned as Governor of Alabama rendering impeachment efforts moot. Lt. Governor Kay Ivey was sworn in as Governor.

The day after being sworn in as Alabama’s 54th Governor, Kay Ivey signed her first bill into law, SB16 which would prohibit a judge from overriding a jury’s verdict in capital cases. Governor Ivey named Steve Pelham as her Chief of Staff and Eileen Jones as Spokesperson for the Governor. All cabinet members and various officials appointed by Governor Bentley were asked to submit, as customary, letters of resignation and the new Governor said she would be evaluating these position deliberately. Several of the resignations were accepted by Governor Ivey, including Jon Mason who served as Director of Faith Based Initiatives, Ron Sparks of the Office of Rural Development and Stan Stabler who served as Secretary of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA). In her first Press Conference, she promised an orderly and transparent government.

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Significant Floor Action This Week

The House debated for several hours a bill that would establish the Alabama Road and Bridge Rehabilitation and Improvement Authority to be funded by additional gasoline and diesel fuel excise taxes. When it was evident the votes did not exist to proceed with further consideration of the bill, the bill was carried over and all indications are that the bill will not be reconsidered until the new quadrennium in 2019 [HB487 by Representative Bill Poole].

The House passed a bill that would allow certain correctional officers and public safety officers to retire with full benefits after 25 years of service. The bill now goes to the Senate [HB326 by Representative Randy Wood].

The Senate passed a bill that would authorize counties to establish an agriculture authority to promote agricultural businesses, operations, commodities, workforce development and economic development within the county. The bill now goes to the House [SB345 by Senator Tim Melson].

The Senate passed a bill that would provide for the voluntary transfer of a case from a municipal court to the district or circuit court under certain circumstances. The bill now goes to the House [SB294 by Senator Cam Ward].

The Senate carried over a bill that would prohibit colleges, universities, local boards of education and public schools from using public funds or public property to advocate for or against ballot measures [SB101 by Senator Arthur Orr].

The Senate passed a bill that would offer an income tax credit for private investment in new broadband telecommunications network facilities. The bill now goes to the House [SB253 by Senator Clay Scofield].

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The Senate passed a bill that would allow the Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham to employ police officers under certain conditions. The bill now goes to the House [SB193 by Senator Jabo Waggoner].

The Senate amended and passed a Mobile County House bill that would clarify that the costs of the office related to the acceptance of credit cards shall include information technology, equipment, and employees. The bill returned to the House for action on the Senate amendment [HB143 by Representative David Sessions].

The Senate amended and passed a bill that would require the Land Commissioner to contract with a nationally recognized auction company to sell at public auction lands, except lands in jurisdictions that have adopted expedited quiet title laws, which were sold for taxes and have not been redeemed within five years from the date the land was sold. The bill now goes to the House [SB264 by Senator Trip Pittman].

The Senate passed 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 House [SB281 by Senator Cam Ward].

The Senate amended and passed a House bill that would expand the definition of a “Community Development District” to include certain areas with marinas. The bill now returns to the House for action on the Senate amendments [HB47 by Representative James Buskey].

The Senate amended and passed a bill that would provide an exemption from municipal delivery business license fees of businesses if deliveries do not exceed $25,000 per year and the business has no physical presence in the municipality or its police jurisdiction. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB316 by Senator Paul Sanford].

The Senate passed a bill that would permit registered therapy dogs to accompany witnesses in legal proceedings. The bill now goes to the House [SB273 by Senator Jimmy Holley].

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Significant Committee Action This Week

The House State Government Committee gave a favorable report to a Senate bill, known as the “Alabama Memorial Preservation Act of 2017,” that would prohibit the removal or alteration of statues and monuments on public property, including city and county properties, and prohibit the removal and renaming of buildings, schools, streets, bridges, etc., under any circumstances if over 20 years old. If a building or monument is less than 20 years old, the bill would require a multi-stage process and approval from a state committee before any action. The bill now goes to the full House [SB60 by Senator Gerald Allen].

The Senate Judiciary Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would authorize either House of the Legislature to issue subpoenas during impeachment proceedings, and would provide for the enforcing of the subpoenas and penalties for failure to comply with a subpoena. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB366 by Senator Phil Williams].

The House Ways and Means Education Committee gave a favorable report to a Senate bill amending the Accountability Act of 2013 to create a credit against utility gross receipts tax liability for donations to scholarship granting organizations [SB123 by Senator Del Marsh].

The House County and Municipal Government Committee held a public hearing, but did not vote, on a bill that would exempt certain home health care providers who do not maintain an office within a municipality or county from purchasing a municipal or county business license [HB441 by Representative Ron Johnson].

The Senate County and Municipal Government Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would allow Class 1 and Class 2 municipalities (Birmingham and Mobile) operating under a countywide civil service systems to establish programs for recruitment, testing, interviewing and hiring all public safety employees. The House County and Municipal Government Committee carried over the House version on its agenda [SB346 by Senator Jabo Waggoner and HB445 by Representative Jack (JW) Williams].

The House Commerce and Small Business Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would allow transportation network companies (Uber, Lyft) to be regulated by the Public Service Commission rather than individual local jurisdictions. The bill now goes to the full House [HB283 by Representative David Faulkner].

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The House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee gave a favorable report to a Senate bill that would require law enforcement to adopt written policies to prohibit racial profiling and would provide for forms to be used for statistics of traffic stops. The bill now goes to the full House [SB112 by Senator Rodger Smitherman].

The House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would require the sheriff to provide feminine hygiene products for all female prisoners who are unable to provide them for themselves under certain conditions. The bill now goes to the full House [HB399 by Representative Tim Wadsworth].

The House Insurance Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would require health benefit plans to offer coverage for the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder for a child age nine or under for certain group insurance plans and contracts. The bill now goes to the full House [HB284 by Representative Jim Patterson].

The House County and Municipal Government Committee gave a favorable report to a Senate bill that would require that an appeal of a final decision of a board of zoning adjustment would be filed in circuit court. The bill now goes to the full House [SB124 by Senator Paul Sanford].

The House Education Policy Committee gave a favorable report to a Senate bill that would require students to pass a civics test, with certain exemptions, before graduating from high school or obtaining a high school equivalency diploma. The bill now goes to the full House [SB32 by Senator Arthur Orr].

The House Education Policy Committee gave a favorable report to a Senate bill that would allow students to possess and use sunscreen at school and school-based events. The bill now goes to the full House [SB63 by Senator Jim McClendon].

The House Ways and Means General Fund Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would levy an additional coal severance tax on underground mining and surface mining with the proceeds earmarked for operation of the Surface Mining Commission. The bill now goes to the full House [HB468 by Representative Kyle South].

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The Senate Health and Human Service Committee gave a favorable report to a House bill that would authorize health care providers to decline to perform services that violate their consciences. The bill now goes to the full Senate [HB95 by Representative Arnold Mooney].

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee gave a favorable report to a House bill, known as the “Assisted Suicide Ban Act,” that would prohibit a person or health care provider from providing aid in dying to another person. The bill now goes to the full Senate [HB96 by Representative Mack Butler].

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee gave a favorable report to a House proposed Constitutional Amendment that would support the rights of unborn children, namely the right to life, and would specify that the Constitution does not protect the right to abortion or require the funding of abortion. The bill now goes to the full Senate [HB98 by Representative Matt Fridy].

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee gave a favorable report to a bill, known as the “Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act,” that would prohibit the state from taking adverse action against a foster or adoption agency that declines to place a child in a situation that conflicts with its’ religious beliefs. The bill now goes to the full Senate [HB24 by Representative Rich Wingo].

The House State Government Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would abolish the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) and return law enforcement functions to the departments, divisions and other entities as they existed before the creation of ALEA in 2013. The bill now goes to the full House [HB425 by Representative Phillip Pettus].

The Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee gave a favorable report to a House bill that would suspend, but not terminate, eligibility for Medicaid for county inmates and juveniles under the jurisdiction of a juvenile court. The bill now goes to the full Senate [HB211 by Representative Chris England].

The Senate County and Municipal Government Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would authorize the city council of a municipality to adopt an ordinance for parking enforcement and collection. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB280 by Senator Jabo Waggoner].

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The Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would further define the licensed premises of a holder of a retail liquor license in a Class 5 municipality Entertainment District. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB352 by Senator Del Marsh].

The Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee gave a favorable report to a House bill that would authorize the taking of whitetail deer or feral swine by means of bait. The bill now goes to the full Senate [HB184 by Representative Jack Williams].

The House Small Business and Commerce Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would modify the Uniform Condominium Act to further specify the rights of the developer and rights of the unit owner with regard to a condominium that is part of a condominium association. The bill now goes to the full House [HB374 by Representative Chris England].

The House Agriculture and Forestry Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would authorize counties to establish an agriculture authority to promote agricultural businesses, operations, commodities, workforce development and economic development within the county. The bill now goes to the full House [HB450 by Representative Lynn Greer].

Significant Introductions This Week

A bill was introduced in the House that would provide that a general law granting an exemption on sales, use or ad valorem taxes would not apply to local taxes unless the local governing body passes a resolution or ordinance granting the local exemption. The bill is pending in the House Ways and Means Education Committee [HB491 by Representative Patricia Todd].

A proposed Constitutional Amendment was introduced in the House that would require the Forever Wild Land Trust to reimburse any ad valorem taxes lost as a result of the acquisition of land by the Trust. The bill is pending in the House State Government Committee [HB502 by Representative Mark Tuggle].

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A bill was introduced in the House that would extend the corporate limits of the City of Foley in Baldwin County. The bill is pending in the House Baldwin County Legislation Committee [HB503 by Representative Steve McMillan].

A proposed Constitutional Amendment was introduced in the Senate that would require the Governor and Lt. Governor to be elected jointly, remove the Lt. Governor as the president of the Senate, and provide that the sole duty of the Lt. Governor would be to succeed the Governor upon his removal from office. The bill is pending in the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee [SB371 by Senator Gerald Dial].

A bill was introduced in both Houses that would prohibit the use of an unmanned aircraft system (drone) to harass people or to fly over certain designated manufacturing and commercial facilities without the permission of the owner of the facility [HB507 by Representative Chris Sells and SB372 by Senator Arthur Orr].

Budgets

The General Fund Budget, HB155 sponsored by Rep. Clouse, has passed the House and is pending in the Senate Finance & Taxation General Fund Committee.

The Education Trust Fund Budget, SB129 sponsored by Sen. Orr, has passed the Senate and is pending in the House Ways & Means Education Committee.

Summaries

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Bills Introduced: 882

Bills that have passed their house of origin: 295

Bills that have passed both houses: 68

Bills that are pending the Governor’s signature: 19

Bills that have been vetoed: 0

Constitutional Amendments Pending Referendum: 1

Bills Enacted: 48

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Written By

DIG DEEPER