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Week 11: Alabama Legislative Report — May 9

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Contributed by Beth Marietta Lyons
Lyons Law Firm

The Alabama Legislature convened in Session for Day 22 of the annual Regular Session on Tuesday, May 2, held 37 committee meetings throughout the week, and convened in Session on Wednesday for Day 23 and Thursday for Day 24.

There have been 1018 bills introduced to date.

The Legislature will return to Montgomery on Tuesday, May 9 for Legislative Day 25 of the Session with the House convening at 1:00 p.m. and the Senate convening at 2:00 p.m.

DURING THE WEEK

Governor Ivey announced the creation of the Alabama Aviation Education Center in Mobile developed in partnership with Airbus. The hands-on facility aims to bolster Alabama’s workforce development efforts and inspire young people to pursue careers in the state’s aerospace industry.

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Governor Ivey announced that she is replacing Jim Byard as the Director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs saying that she has identified a new Director whose name will be announced soon. Jim Byard issued a statement wishing the Governor and her administration all the best and citing that it has been an honor to service as ADECA Director for the last six years.

SIGNIFICANT FLOOR ACTION THIS WEEK

The House substituted, amended and passed the $6.4 billion Senate Education Budget bill that would give a $12 million increase to K-12, a $13.5 million increase to Pre-K, an additional $7.4 million for retirement funding, provide funds for an additional 152 teachers for grades 4 through 6, and level fund 4 year colleges and universities and the teacher’s health insurance (PEEHIP). The bill now returns to the Senate for action on the House amendments [SB129 by Senator Arthur Orr].

The Senate amended and passed the $1.846 billion House General Fund budget bill for fiscal year 2018 which would level fund most state agencies, allocate $701 million to the Medicaid Agency, and reduce funding for the Governor’s office. The bill now returns to the House for action on the Senate amendments [HB155 by Representative Steve Clouse].

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The Senate non-concurred with the House amendment on a Senate bill, known as the “Alabama Memorial Preservation Act of 2017,” that would prohibit, without a multi-stage process and approval from a state committee, the removal or alteration of statues and monuments on state, city, and county properties and prohibit the removal and renaming of buildings, schools, streets, bridges. The Senate has appointed a conference committee of Senator Marsh, Senator Allen and Senator Singleton. House conferees have yet to be appointed [SB60 by Senator Gerald Allen].

The Senate passed 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 Governor [HB211 by Representative Chris England].

The Senate passed a bill that would require that if the final condemnation award in an eminent domain condemnation proceeding by the Department of Transportation exceeds the department’s last written offer by more than 5%, the department must pay the condemnee’s reasonable attorney, appraisal and engineering fees. The bill now goes to the House [SB157 by Senator Cam Ward].

The Senate passed 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 House [SB366 by Senator Phil Williams].

The Senate passed 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 House [SB336 by Senator Steve Livingston].

The House declined, on a procedural vote, to consider 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 [HB245 by Representative Terri Collins].

The House passed a bill that would authorize a municipality to rehire a retired law enforcement officer or firefighter at any time if authorized by local law and upon notice to the Director of the Ethics Commission. The bill now goes to the Senate [HB222 by Representative Allen Treadaway].

The House passed a bill that would lower the percentage of signatures needed on a petition to gain ballot access as an independent candidate in certain special elections. The bill now goes to the Senate [HB552 by Representative Chris England].

The House substituted and passed 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 returns to the Senate for action on the House substitute [SB345 by Senator Tim Melson].

The House passed a bill that would authorize the use of electronic systems for the assessment and collection of tolls. The bill now goes to the Senate [HB421 by Representative Steve McMillan].

The House passed a bill that would require religious or faith-based boarding schools or facilities that house children to be registered and inspected by the Department of Human Resources and to perform criminal background check on employees and potential employees. The bill now goes to the Senate [HB440 by Representative Steve McMillan].

The House amended and passed a bill that would allow transportation network companies (Uber, Lyft) to be regulated by the Public Service Commission unless a municipality currently has, or passes within 90 days of the effective date of the act, an ordinance providing for the permitting of operations. The bill now goes to the Senate [HB283 by Representative David Faulkner].

The House passed a Senate bill that would give the Department of Corrections the authority to establish a program to issue a nondriver identification card to a resident parolee upon his or her release from prison. The bill now goes to the Governor [SB102 by Senator Quinton Ross].

The Senate amended and passed a bill, after extended debate and formal reading, that would provide for the reapportionment and redistricting of the state Senate districts for elections in 2018. The bill now goes to the House [SB403 by Senator Gerald Dial].

The House passed a Senate bill that would provide that the annual salary of the city council of a Class 1 municipality (Birmingham) would be set at the beginning of each term by the State Personnel Board based on the median household income of the city. The bill now goes to the Governor [SB247 by Senator Jabo Waggoner].

The House passed a Mobile County Local bill 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 its regular line of business when that food service establishment prepares or distributes food in association with a regional celebratory event or custom. The bill now goes to the Senate [HB528 by Representative Margie Wilcox].

SIGNIFICANT COMMITTEE ACTION THIS WEEK

The Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee amended and gave a favorable report to a bill that would reestablish the income tax credit, which expired in 2016, for the rehabilitation, preservation or development of certified historic structures, would set aside credits for smaller counties, and would limit credits to structures 60 years or older. The bill now goes to the full Senate [HB345 by Representative Victor Gaston].

The Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee gave a favorable report to a proposed Constitutional Amendment that would require any tax credit, exemption, deduction or preferential tax rate enacted beginning with the 2019 Regular Session of the Legislature to expire within 5 years from the effective date of the act unless extended by an act of the Legislature. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB405 by Senator Bill Hightower].

The Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee amended and gave a favorable report to a House 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 full Senate [HB354 by Representative Alan Boothe].

The Senate Constitution, Ethics and Elections Committee gave a favorable report to a Senate bill that would lower the percentage of signatures needed on a petition to gain ballot access as an independent candidate in certain special elections. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB398 by Senator Bill Hightower].

The Senate Transportation and Energy Committee amended and gave a favorable report to a bill that would limit a municipality, except those with a separate public works department, to spending the proceeds from a municipal excise tax or fee on gasoline only for the purchase or lease of equipment or purchase of materials essential to specific road or bridge maintenance, improvement, replacement, and construction projects. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB401 by Senator Gerald Dial].

The Senate Transportation and Energy Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would require transportation network companies (Uber, Lyft) to obtain a permit from the Public Service Commission, provide fare transparency, implement a nondiscrimination policy, meet certain safety and consumer protection requirements, prohibit municipalities from imposing taxes or business licenses on companies or drivers, and authorize municipalities to prohibit the companies and drivers from operating within the corporate limits of the municipality. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB271 by Senator Bobby Singleton].

The House Judiciary Committee gave a favorable report to a Senate 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 full House [SB12 by Senator Trip Pittman].

The House Ways and Means Education Committee amended and gave a favorable report to a Senate bill that would include certain specific public water or sewer authorities, systems or boards under the definition of a governmental entity for the purpose of exemption from state and local sales and use taxes. The bill now goes to the full House [SB295 by Senator Greg Reed].

The Senate Judiciary Committee amended and gave a favorable report to a House bill that would remove certain exemptions from licensure for child care facilities that are part of a church or nonprofit religious school, require confidential 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 full Senate [HB277 by Representative Pebblin Warren].

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a public hearing, but did not vote, on a House bill that would allow a midwife who holds current midwifery certification from an organization accredited by the Institute for Credentialing Excellence to practice midwifery in the State of Alabama [HB315 by Representative Ken Johnson].

The Senate Judiciary Committee gave a favorable report to a proposed Constitutional Amendment that would require legislative approval of any Supreme Court decision affirming the Court of the Judiciary removing a judge from office. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB8 by Senator Bill Hightower].

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

The House County and Municipal Government committee amended and gave a favorable report to a Senate bill that would require the Land Commissioner to contract with a qualified 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 full House [SB264 by Senator Trip Pittman].

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

The Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee held a public hearing, but did not vote, on a House 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 [HB284 by Representative Jim Patterson].

The House Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would provide for the reapportionment and redistricting of the state House districts for elections in 2018. The bill now goes to the full House [HB571 by Representative Randy Davis].

The House Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee amended and gave a favorable report to a Senate bill that would prohibit a voter from voting in a primary runoff election unless the voter voted in the primary election of the party for which the runoff election is being held. The bill now goes to the full House [SB108 by Senator Tom Whatley].

SIGNIFICANT INTRODUCTIONS THIS WEEK

A bill was introduced in the House that would require all candidates for the position of city or county superintendent of education to have at least five years of full-time public school instructional experience and be certified to teach a core subject matter. The bill is pending the in House Education Policy Committee [HB584 by Representative Mike Ball].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would eliminate the 36 month limit for Legislators and the Lt. Governor to continue his or her coverage under the State Employees’ Health Insurance Plan if the member served at least two full four-year terms in office. The bill is pending in the Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee [SB408 by Senator Tom Whatley].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would terminate the adoption and implementation of the standards commonly known as the Common Core Standards or Alabama College and Career Ready Standards and direct the State Board of Education to replace the courses of study in place immediately prior to the adoption of the Common Core Standards [SB415 by Senator Harri Anne Smith].

BUDGETS

The General Fund Budget has been passed by both chambers, but is pending action in the House on amendments passed in the Senate.

The Education Trust Fund Budget has been passed by both chambers, but is pending action in the Senate on amendments passed in the House.

SIGNIFICANT BILLS ENACTED

SB79 Sen. Pittman: Relating to Baldwin County; to authorize the county commission to levy an excise tax on the business of selling, distributing, storing, or withdrawing from storage gasoline or motor fuel and substitutes in the county not to exceed three cents per gallon.

HB185 Rep. Buskey: Relating to entertainment districts in Class 2 municipalities; to further define the licensed premises of a holder of a retail liquor license.

SB136 Sen. Melson: To change the annual sales tax holiday from the first Friday in August to the third Friday in July

SB95 Sen. Pittman: To clarify the process for calculation, distribution, and retention of excess funds held by a county following the sale of real estate for taxes

SB16 Sen. Brewbaker: To prohibit a judge from overriding a jury’s sentencing verdict in capital cases

HB230 Sen. Pringle: To empower any Class 2 municipality in the State of Alabama to authorize, by municipal ordinance, the operation of low-speed vehicles upon certain city streets of the municipality under limited circumstances and conditions.

SB32 Sen. Orr: To require students to pass a 100 question civics test, with certain exemptions, before graduating from high school or obtaining a high school equivalency diploma

HB98 Rep. Fridy: Constitutional Amendment; to 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

HB95 Rep. Mooney: To authorize health care providers to decline to perform services that violate their consciences

SB289 Sen. Glover: To 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.

HB23: Rep. Wingo: 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

SB4 Sen. Dial: To create a Legislative Services Agency which would consolidate Legislative Fiscal Office, Legislative Reference Service and the Alabama Law Institute under the new Agency

HB96 Rep. Butler: Known as the “Assisted Suicide Ban Act,” that would prohibit a person or health care provider from providing aid in dying to another person

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Tuberville calls for term limits, balanced budget and lobbying reform

Tuberville has also made a major media buy across the state to trumpet this message.

Brandon Moseley

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Republican Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville (TUBERVILLE CAMPAIGN)

Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville’s campaign began emphasizing key structural reforms that the Republican nominee hopes to advance if elected to the U.S. Senate including congressional term limits, withholding lawmakers’ paychecks unless a balanced budget is passed and a ban on former officials becoming lobbyists.

“Only an outsider like me can help President Trump drain the Swamp, and any of the proposals outlined in this ad will begin the process of pulling the plug,” Tuberville said in a statement. “Doug Jones has had his chance, and he failed our state, so now it’s time to elect a senator who will work to fundamentally change the way that Washington operates.”

Tuberville has also made a major media buy across the state to trumpet this message.

“You know Washington politicians could learn a lot from the folks in small town Alabama, but Doug Jones … he’s too liberal to teach them,” Tuberville added.

Polls consistently show that term limits are popular with people across both political parties, but the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that imposing term limits would be adding a qualification to be a member of Congress and that can only be done by constitutional amendment.

It is an unspoken truth that when Americans send someone to Congress they never come back. They either keep getting re-elected like Alabama’s own Sen. Richard Shelby, who is in his sixth term in the Senate after four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. On the other hand, they may become lobbyists getting paid to influence their colleagues on behalf of corporations, foreign governments or some well funded non-government organization.

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Tuberville said he would ban that practice.

A balanced budget amendment almost passed in the 1980s and again in the 1990s.

Since that failure, Congress has increasingly passed bigger and bigger budget deficits. The U.S. government borrowed more money during the eight years of President George W. Bush’s presidency than the government had borrowed in the first 224 years of the country combined.

President Barack Obama followed and the TARP program propped up the post-Great Recession economy. Rather than cutting the deficit, President Donald Trump invested billions in the military and a tax cut without cutting domestic spending. The 2020 coronavirus crisis has further grown the budget.

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The government has borrowed trillions to prop up the economy and provide stimulus while investing billions into medical research and treating the virus victims. Congress is currently debating a fifth stimulus package that would add more to the deficit.

Both a balanced budget amendment and a term limits amendment would have to be ratified by the states if passed by Congress. Tuberville is challenging incumbent Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama.

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House passes General Fund Budget

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama House of Representatives passed the state General Fund Budget on Tuesday.

The General Fund Budget for the 2019 fiscal year is Senate Bill 178. It is sponsored by Sen. Trip Pittman, R-Montrose. State Rep. Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, carried the budget on the House floor. Clouse chairs the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee.

Clouse said, “Last year we monetized the BP settlement money and held over $97 million to this year.”

Clouse said that the state is still trying to come up with a solution to the federal lawsuit over the state prisons. The Governor’s Office has made some progress after she took over from Gov. Robert Bentley. The supplemental we just passed added $30 million to prisons.

The budget adds $50 million to the Department of Corrections.

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Clouse said that the budget increased the money for prisons by $55,680,000 and includes $4.8 million to buy the privately-owned prison facility in Perry County.

Clouse said that the budget raises funding for the judicial system and raises the appropriation for the Forensic Sciences to $11.7 million.

The House passed a committee substitute so the Senate is either going to have to concur with the changes made by the House or a conference committee will have to be appointed. Clouse told reporters that he hoped that it did not have to go to conference.

Clouse said that the budget had added $860,000 to hire more Juvenile Probation Officers. After talking to officials with the court system that was cut in half in the amendment. The amendment also includes some wording the arbiters in the court lawsuit think we need.

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The state General Fund Budget, SB178, passed 98-1.

Both budgets have now passed the Alabama House of Representatives.

The 2019 fiscal year begins on Oct. 1, 2018.

In addition to the SGF, the House also passed a supplemental appropriation for the current 2018 budget year. SB175 is also sponsored by Pittman and was carried by Clouse on the floor of the House.

SB175 includes $30 million in additional 2018 money for the Department of Corrections. The Departmental Emergency Fund, the Examiners of Public Accounts, the Insurance Department and Forensic Sciences received additional money.

Clouse said, “We knew dealing with the federal lawsuit was going to be expensive. We are adding $80 million to the Department of Corrections.”

State Representative Johnny Mack Morrow, R-Red Bay, said that state Department of Forensics was cut from $14 million to $9 million. “Why are we adding money for DA and courts if we don’t have money for forensics to provide evidence? if there is any agency in law enforcement or the court system that should be funded it is Forensics.”

The supplemental 2018 appropriation passed 80 to 1.

The House also passed SB203. It was sponsored by Pittman and was carried in the House by State Rep. Ken Johnson, R-Moulton. It raises securities and registration fees for agents and investment advisors. It increases the filing fees for certain management investment companies. Johnson said that those fees had not been adjusted since 2009.

The House also passed SB176, which is an annual appropriation for the Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The bill requires that the agency have an operations plan, audited financial statement, and quarterly and end of year reports. SB176 is sponsored by Pittman and was carried on the House floor by State Rep. Elaine Beech, D-Chatham.

The House passed Senate Bill 185 which gives state employees a cost of living increase in the 2019 budget beginning on October 1. It was sponsored by Sen. Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville and was being carried on the House floor by state Rep. Dimitri Polizos, R-Montgomery.

Polizos said that this was the first raise for non-education state employees in nine years. It is a 3 percent raise.

SB185 passed 101-0.

Senate Bill 215 gives retired state employees a one time bonus check. SB215 is sponsored by Senator Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, and was carried on the House floor by state Rep. Kerry Rich, R-Guntersville.

Rich said that retired employees will get a bonus $1  for every month that they worked for the state. For employees who retired with 25 years of service that will be a $300 one time bonus. A 20-year retiree would get $240 and a 35-year employee would get $420.

SB215 passed the House 87-0.

The House passed Senate Bill 231, which is the appropriation bill increase amount to the Emergency Forest Fire and Insect and Disease Fund. SB231 is sponsored by Sen. Steve Livingston, R-Scottsboro, and was carried on the House floor by state Rep. Kyle South, R-Fayette.

State Rep. Elaine Beech, D-Chathom, said, “Thank you for bringing this bill my district is full of trees and you never know when a forest fire will hit.

SB231 passed 87-2.

The state of Alabama is unique among the states in that most of the money is earmarked for specific purposes allowing the Legislature little year-to-year flexibility in moving funds around.

The SGF includes appropriations for the Alabama Medicaid Agency, the courts, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the Alabama Department of Corrections, mental health, and most state agencies that are no education related. The Alabama Department of Transportation gets their funding mostly from state fuel taxes.

The Legislature also gives ALEA a portion of the gas taxes. K-12 education, the two year college system, and all the universities get their state support from the education trust fund (ETF) budget. There are also billions of dollars in revenue that are earmarked for a variety of purposes that does not show up in the SGF or ETF budgets.

Examples of that include the Public Service Commission, which collects utility taxes from the industries that it regulates. The PSC is supported entirely by its own revenue streams and contributes $13 million to the SGF. The Secretary of State’s Office is entirely funded by its corporate filing and other fees and gets no SGF appropriation.

Clouse warned reporters that part of the reason this budget had so much money was due to the BP oil spill settlement that provided money for the 2018 budget and $97 million for the 2019 budget. Clouse said they elected to make a $13 million repayment to the Alabama Trust fund that was not due until 2020 but that is all that was held over for 2020.

Clouse predicted that the Legislature will have to make some hard decisions about revenue in next year’s session.

 

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Day Care bill delayed for second time on Senate floor, may be back Thursday

Sam Mattison

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By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

The day care bill, which would license certain day care centers in Alabama, was once again delayed on the state Senate floor after one lawmaker requested more information.

Its brief appearance Tuesday ended with state Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, saying a compromise had not yet been worked out with the bill’s detractors.

Alabama’s Senate has been hesitant to act on the legislation because of complaints of state Sen. Shay Shelnutt, R-Trussville, who has been an opponent of the bill since its introduction last year. The bill’s delay on Tuesday marks the second time its been taken off the Senate’s agenda.

The bill has had a rocky time in this year’s session, but the bill’s sponsor state Rep. Pebblin Warren, D-Tuskegee, said she is still confident about its passage out of the Legislature.

Warren, D-Tuskegee, filed the bill this session with the support of influential lawmakers including Gov. Kay Ivey, who told reporters last year that she though all day cares should be licensed.

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Mainly sparked by the death of 5-year-old boy in the care of a unlicensed day care worker, the bill had great momentum coming into this year’ session.

Despite the growing support from lawmakers, Religious groups had concerns that the bill would increase state-sponsored reach into religious day cares in churches and non-profit groups.

Spearheading the dissenters was Alabama Citizens Action Program, a conservative religious-based PAC.

Warren, proponents, and ALCAP announced a compromise to the bill while it was still in the Alabama House.

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Announced by ALCAP originally, the new bill was a weaker version in that it did not require that all day cares in the state be regulated. Instead, religious-based day cares would only need to be registered if they received federal funds. At a Senate committee meeting in February, Warren said a similar requirement was about to come from federal law in Congress.

The bill moved through the House in a overwhelming vote in favor of the proposal and passed unanimously out of a Senate committee a few weeks ago.

Warren, speaking to reporters after its passage from the House, said she was unsure if the bill would encounter resistance in the upper chamber.

It was the Senate that killed the daycare bill last year amid a cramped last day where senators took the bill off the floor. The bill may face similar complications this year, as lawmakers seem to be preparing to adjourn within a few weeks.

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Fantasy sports bill fails on Senate floor

Sam Mattison

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By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

Would-be Fantasy Sports players in Alabama will have to wait to legally play in the state following a Senate vote on Tuesday.

The Alabama Senate decisively killed a bill to exempt fantasy sports from the state’s prohibition on gambling.

Not even entertaining a debate on the Senate floor, the proposal was killed during a vote for the Budget Isolation Resolution, which is usually a formality vote preluding a debate.

Fantasy sports are contests where participants select players from real teams to compete on fantasy teams using the real-world players’ stats.

Since 2016, the practice has been illegal in Alabama following a legal decision by the Attorney General’s Office that categorized it as gambling.

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The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Paul Sanford, R-Huntsville, predicted the bill’s failure during a committee meeting two weeks ago, where the bill passed unanimously.

Sen. Paul Sanford speaks to reporters after a Senate Committee meeting on Feb. 28, 2018. (Samuel Mattison/APR)

Speaking to reporter’s after the committee meeting, Sanford said the decision to file the bill was mainly a philosophical belief that the practice shouldn’t be illegal.

Sanford, a fantasy sports player before its ban, said that fantasy sports are a way to bring people closer together and not a means to win money. The Huntsville senator is not seeking re-election.

The bill’s failure in the Senate follows its trajectory last year too. A similar version of the bill, also sponsored by Sanford, failed in the Senate during the final days of the 2017 Legislative Session.

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Since Sanford is retiring, it is unclear if the bill will even come back next session, or if it will even have a Senate sponsor.

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