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Week 9: Alabama Legislative Report — April 21

Contributed by Beth Marietta Lyons
Lyons Law Firm

The Alabama Legislature convened in Session for Day 18 of the annual Regular Session on Tuesday, April 18, held 24 committee meetings throughout the week, and convened in Session on Thursday for Day 19.

There have been 944 bills introduced to date.

The Legislature will return to Montgomery on Tuesday, April 25 for Legislative Day 20 of the Session with the House convening at 1:00 p.m. and the Senate convening at 2:00 p.m.

During the Week

Representative Jack Williams announced that he will run in 2018 for Senate District 34 which is currently held by Senator Rusty Glover who has announced he will run for Lt. Governor.

Governor Ivey scheduled a Special Election for the US Senate seat previously held by Jeff Sessions and currently held by Luther Strange who was appointed by Governor Bentley in February of this year. Former Governor Bentley had originally scheduled the election to coincide with the regular 2018 election cycle. Candidates must qualify by May 17 for the Primary Election that will now be held August 15. A run- off, if necessary, will be held September 26 and the General Election will be December 12.

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The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed the Alabama Court of the Judiciary’s decision to suspend Chief Justice Roy Moore for the remainder of his term. The Court of the Judiciary had suspended Moore after finding him guilty of six charges of violation of the Canons of Judicial Ethics.

Representative Johnny Mack Morrow introduced a Resolution condemning the actions of Rebekah Mason, the former Senior Political Advisor for former Governor Robert Bentley, and calling for a criminal investigation of Ms. Mason by the Attorney General. After a failed attempt to immediately suspend the rules and consider the resolution, the resolution was referred to the House Rules Committee.

Significant Floor Action this Week

The House passed a bill that would reestablish the income tax credit, which expired in 2016, for the rehabilitation, preservation or development of certified historic structures. The bill now goes to the Senate [HB345 by Representative Victor Gaston].

The House passed 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 Senate [HB284 by Representative Jim Patterson].

The House passed a Senate bill that would require students to pass a 100 question civics test, with certain exemptions, before graduating from high school or obtaining a high school equivalency diploma. The bill now goes to the Governor [SB32 by Senator Arthur Orr].

The House passed a bill that would exempt fantasy sports contests from the prohibition against gambling and provide for regulation and registration of operators. The bill now goes to the Senate [HB354 by Representative Alan Boothe].

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The House passed a bill that would remove certain exemptions from licensure for child care facilities that are part of a church or nonprofit religious school, require state inspections, criminal history records on employees and maintenance of the immunization records on all children, and licensure if state or federal funds are received for children in the facility. The bill now goes to the Senate [HB277 by Representative Pebblin Warren].

The Senate passed a bill that, as introduced, would have allowed capital defendants to choose to be executed by firing squad, rather than lethal injection or electrocution, but was amended to offer execution by nitrogen hypoxia instead of a firing squad. The bill now goes to the House [SB12 by Senator Trip Pittman].

The Senate passed a bill that would allow a person to carry a pistol without a pistol permit on property under his or her control, including vehicles and places of business. The bill now goes to the House [SB24 by Senator Gerald Allen].

The Senate amended and passed a House bill, known as the “Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act,” that would prohibit the state from taking adverse action against an adoption agency that declines to place a child in a situation that conflicts with its religious beliefs. The bill now returns to the House for action on the Senate amendment [HB24 by Representative Rich Wingo].

The Senate amended and passed 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 returns to the House for action on the Senate amendments [HB98 by Representative Matt Fridy].

The Senate passed a House bill that would authorize health care providers to decline to perform services that violate their consciences. The bill now goes to the Governor [HB95 by Representative Arnold Mooney].

The Senate amended and passed 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 returns to the House for action on the Senate amendment [HB96 by Representative Mack Butler].

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Significant Committee Action This Week

The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee gave a favorable report to a House 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 full Senate [HB326 by Representative Randy Wood].

The House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee gave a favorable report to a Senate bill that would allow the Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham to employ police officers under certain conditions. The bill now goes to the full House [SB193 by Senator Jabo Waggoner].

The House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee held a public hearing, but did not vote, on 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 for life, even after remarriage, and would extend benefits to a surviving minor child until the age of majority [HB340 by Representative Matt Fridy].

The House Judiciary committee gave a favorable report to a Senate bill that would abolish the requirement that a marriage license be issued by the judge of probate; instead the marriage would be entered into by contract which would be recorded with the judge of probate following execution. The bill now goes to the full House [SB20 by Senator Greg Albritton].

The Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development committee gave a favorable report, following a public hearing, on a bill that would allow a currently licensed wine producer, supplier, importer, wholesaler, distributor or retailer to obtain a wine direct shipper license to allow the shipment of limited quantities of wine to Alabama residents. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB329 by Senator Bill Holtzclaw].

The Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee held a public hearing, but did not vote, on a bill that would disallow the markup voted on by the Alcoholic Beverages Control Board in March and would require legislative approval for further markups [SB323 by Senator Bill Holtzclaw].

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The House County and Municipal Government Committee gave a favorable report to 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. The bill now goes to the full House [HB441 by Representative Ron Johnson].

The House Judiciary Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would provide enhanced criminal penalties for assault if the victim of the crime was a public safety officer. The bill now goes to the full House [HB237 by Representative Phillip Pettus].

The House Agriculture and Forestry Committee amended and gave a favorable report to a Senate bill that would increase the maximum income tax credit for the purchase and installation of irrigation equipment and for the conversion of irrigation equipment from fuel to electricity or for qualified reservoirs. The bill now goes to the full House [SB257 by Senator Arthur Orr].

The House Agriculture and Forestry Committee gave a favorable report to a Senate 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 [SB345 by Senator Tim Melson].

The House Commerce and Small Business 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 [SB283 by Senator Rodger Smitherman].

The Senate Judiciary Committee amended and gave a favorable report to a House bill that would allow a church to establish a security program with armed personnel for the protection of the congregation of the church. The bill now goes to the full Senate [HB36 by Representative Lynn Greer].

The Senate Judiciary Committee gave a favorable report to a House bill that would expand the expungement of criminal records to include all felony charges when the person has been found not guilty of the charges. The bill now goes to the full Senate [HB279 by Representative Alan Baker].

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The Senate Judiciary Committee held a public hearing, but did not vote, on a House bill that would limit a ticket issuer’s use of a nontransferable ticketing system to allow for the ticket buyer to resell the ticket [HB265 by Representative Paul Lee].

The Senate Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would provide that a municipality would be responsible for half of the housing, maintenance and medical care expenses of a child under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court if the child resides in a municipality with a specified population and to provide that the law enforcement agency in whose custody a child is initially held or detained is responsible for all transportation costs. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB324 by Senator Phil Williams].

The Senate Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would allow for the sale of alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption in a specified community development district. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB336 by Senator Steve Livingston].

The House Education Policy Committee amended and gave a favorable report to a bill that would amend the Alabama School Choice and Student Opportunity Act to require the state Department of Education to annually publish a list of registered local authorizers of public charter schools, allow an applicant to apply directly to the Alabama Public Charter School Commission, and allow local funding to be allocated to Charter Schools. The bill now goes to the full House [HB245 by Representative Terri Collins].

The House Mobile County Legislation Committee met and gave favorable reports to the following bill:

  • A bill that would grant to any Class 2 municipality the authority to enact by ordinance provisions for enforcement of local and state building regulations for the maintenance of structures; provide for a judicial in rem foreclosure on non-owner occupied properties; and provide for recovery of taxpayer costs and transfer of title to property under certain circumstances [HB430 by Representative Barbara Drummond];
  • A bill that would delete the requirement that certain sales of property and leases by the Mobile County School Board be approved by the Judge of Probate [HB389 by Representative Chris Pringle];
  • A bill that would repeal Act No. 82-675, 1982 1st Special Session, and Act No. 88-423, 1988 Regular Session, providing supplemental funding for certain salaries and expenses for the office of the District Attorney of the 13th Judicial Circuit in Mobile County [SB289 by Senator Rusty Glover].

The bills now go to the full House.

Significant Introductions This Week

A bill was introduced in the House that would prohibit the Mobile County Health Department from regulating or requiring a permit for intermittent food service establishments that otherwise do not prepare, sell, or distribute food in the regular line of business when that food service establishment prepares or distributes food in association with a regional celebratory event or custom. The bill is pending in the House Mobile County Legislation Committee [HB528 by Representative Margie Wilcox].

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A bill was introduced in the House that would make genital mutilation of a female under the age of 19 a Class B felony. The bill is pending in the House Judiciary Committee [HB537 by Representative Rod Scott].

A bill was introduced in the House that would substantially revise the provisions governing the operation of the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts, revise the qualifications of the chief examiner and revise and clarify certain duties of the department. The bill is pending in the House State Government Committee [HB540 by Representative Chris Pringle].

A proposed Constitutional Amendment was introduced in the House that would provide a procedure for the recall of the Governor, Lt. Governor, State Treasurer, State Auditor and Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries, and provide for the grounds for recall. The bill is pending in the House Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee [HB544 by Representative Will Ainsworth].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would repeal the Alabama New Markets Development Act effective January 1, 2018. The bill is pending in the Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee [SB377 by Senator Del Marsh].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would authorize a county commission to call for a referendum on the levy of an excise tax on gasoline and motor fuel for specific road and bridge projects identified by the county prior to the referendum. The bill is pending in the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee [SB386 by Senator Arthur Orr].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would provide that a county paying for medical services for a prison in the county jail may not be charged an amount that exceeds the rates and fees established under the federal Medicare program under certain conditions. The bill is pending in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee [SB388 by Senator Tim Melson].

A bill was introduced in both Houses that would further provide for the Alabama Transportation Infrastructure Bank to authorize additional tax revenue to be pledged to pay and secure revenue bonds issued by the bank, to add provisions relating to the granting of other financial assistance and specify that the bank would be a non-profit corporation [HB530 by Representative Margie Wilcox and SB385 by Representative Arthur Orr].

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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

  • Bills Introduced: 944
  • Bills that have passed their house of origin: 315
  • Bills that have passed both houses: 77
  • Bills that are pending the Governor’s signature: 15
  • Bills that have been vetoed: 0
  • Constitutional Amendments Pending Referendum: 2
  • Bills Enacted: 60
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DIG DEEPER

Economy

Economic development activity across Alabama in 2020 generated close to $5 billion in new capital investment.

Municipal elections

Retired Montgomery County Administrator Donnie Mims announced that he is a candidate for a City Council vacancy.

Legislature

The Legislature will return to Montgomery on Tuesday, April 6, for day 19 of the session.

Legislature

914 bills have been introduced to date: 563 in the House and 351 in the Senate.