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Week Three Legislative Report: The Legislature gets moving

The Alabama House chambers. (FILE PHOTO)

Contributed by Beth Marietta Lyons
Lyons Law Firm

The Alabama Legislature convened for day 5 of the annual Regular Session on Tuesday, January 23 with committee meetings held throughout the week. Both Houses then convened on Thursday, January 25 for Day 6.

There have been 554 bills introduced to date. Twenty-eight committees met to consider multiple bills.

The Legislature will return to Montgomery on Tuesday, January 30 for day 7 of the Session with the House convening at 1:00 p.m. and the Senate at 2:00 p.m. Seventeen committees have scheduled meetings as of the time of this report.

Significant Introductions This Week

A bill was introduced in the House that would allow the governing body of any municipality within Mobile County, or the County Commission for unincorporated areas of the county, to authorize the sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption on Sunday commencing at 10:00 a.m. The bill is pending in the House Mobile County Legislation Committee [HB267 by Representative James Buskey].

A bill was introduced in the House that would make genital mutilation of a female under the age of 19 a Class D felony. The bill is pending in the House Judiciary Committee [HB284 by Representative Connie Rowe].

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A bill was introduced in both Houses that would require that a person must be convicted, as opposed to arrested, for violation of a criminal law subject to forfeiture before he or she can be compelled to forfeit assets [HB87 by Representative Arnold Mooney and SB 213 by Senator Arthur Orr].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would eliminate primary and general special elections to fill in-term vacancies in the Alabama Legislature by holding one election with one ballot listing all qualifying candidates, regardless of party, with the candidate who receives the most votes being declared the winner. The bill is pending in the Senate Constitution, Ethics and Elections Committee [SB208 by Senator Jim McClendon].

A bill was introduced in the Senate 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 pending in the Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee [SB222 by Senator Trip Pittman].

A bill was introduced in the House that would create the Alabama Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy Patient Safety Act and would provide for the standardized education and demonstration of competency by medical imaging and radiation therapy professionals. The bill is pending in the House Health Committee [HB269 by Representative April Weaver].

A bill was introduced in both Houses that would revise the lodging tax to exclude certain rentals that are not for overnight accommodations from the lodging tax [HB291 by Representative Arnold Mooney and SB226 by Senator Paul Sanford].

A proposed Constitutional Amendment was introduced in the House that would provide for annual general sessions of the Legislature for non-budgetary matters and for fiscal sessions for revenue and appropriation bills for a biennial budget period. The bill is pending in the House Fiscal Responsibility Committee [HB292 by Representative Bill Poole].

A bill was introduced in the House that would provide for the implementation of biennial budgeting periods and change the statutory meeting dates of the Legislature in the event HB292 is approved in a referendum. The bill is pending in the House Fiscal Responsibility Committee [HB294 by Representative Bill Poole].

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A bill was introduced in the House that would change the fiscal year of the state from October 1 through September 30 to July 1 through June 30 beginning July 1, 2019. The bill is pending in the House Fiscal Responsibility Committee [HB295 by Representative Bill Poole].

A bill was introduced in the House that would change the dates of notice of non-renewal and of non-tenure of teachers in the public schools of the state and the Alabama Community College System in the event HB292 is approved in a referendum to comply with biennial budgeting periods. The bill is pending in the House Fiscal Responsibility Committee [HB296 by Representative Bill Poole].

A bill was introduced in both Houses 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 [HB298 by Representative Paul Lee and SB219 by Senator Shay Shelnutt].

A bill was introduced in the House that would require all districts responsible for the oversight of 911 emergency dispatch offices to require 911 emergency dispatch operators to be trained in the delivery of high quality telephone cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The bill is pending in the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee [HB300 by Representative Connie Rowe].

A bill was introduced in the House that would provide for the regulation of tagging of oysters and require an annual oyster aquaculture license . The bill is pending in the House Agriculture and Forestry Committee [HB302 by Representative David Sessions].

A bill was introduced in the House that would further provide for the appropriation and pledge of certain tax revenues, motor vehicle license taxes and registration fees, diesel fuel tax revenues, motor carrier tax revenues. The bill is pending in the House Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure Committee [HB311 by Representative Margie Wilcox].

A bill was introduced in the House that would revise notification and confidentiality provisions governing certain economic incentives provided for by law and would clarity what incentives are subject to the notification requirements. The bill is pending in the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee [HB317 by Representative Ken Johnson].

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A bill was introduced in the Senate that would require a member of the Legislature who enters into certain business arrangements with a client for which the member is compensated to seek preapproval from the Ethics Commission prior to receiving compensation under the arrangement; to provide a presumption that arrangements are appropriate and to provide guidance to the Ethics Commission in determining approval. The bill is pending in the Senate Constitution, Ethics and Elections Committee [SB221 by Senator Trip Pittman].

Significant Committee Action This Week

The House County and Municipal Government Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would authorize a county to use warrant funds on public facilities owned by a municipality located within the county. The bill now goes to the full House [HB148 by Representative Randy Davis].

The House Health Committee carried over a bill that would require abortion providers to provide a woman seeking an abortion with certain information prior to performing an abortion [HB52 by Representative Kerry Rich].

The Senate Judiciary Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would prohibit the State of Alabama, its agencies and its political subdivisions, excepting law enforcement agencies, from inquiring into an applicant’s conviction history for consideration of a job until after the applicant has received a conditional job offer. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB198 by Senator Bobby Singleton].

The House Judiciary Committee amended and assigned to a subcommittee for further consideration a bill that would make it a crime to prevent a person from making a public speech because of the content of the speech [HB94 by Representative Jack (JD) Williams].

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 [SB13 by Senator Greg Albritton].

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The House Judiciary Committee held a public hearing, but did not vote, on a bill that would provide that a person is not criminally liable for using physical or deadly force in self-defense or in the defense of another on the premises of a church [HB34 by Representative Lynn Greer].

The House Judiciary Committee held a public hearing, but did not vote, on a bill that would give the Poarch Band of Creek Indians the power and authority to employ police officers for the protection of the reservation and the tribe [HB149 by Representative Randy Davis].

The House Boards, Agencies and Commissions Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would abolish boards, commissions, committees, task forces and authorities that are inactive or inoperable. The bill now goes to the full House [HB22 by Representative Chris Pringle].

The House Economic Development and Tourism Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would add certain enumerated public officials and boards to the list of entities supported by the Alabama Workforce Council, and revise the membership of the Council. The bill now goes to the full House [HB170 by Representative Alan Baker].

The House Education Policy Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would allow teachers in grades K through 12 to use the Bible and other scripture to instruct students on religious history and other subjects. The bill now goes to the full House[HB114 by Representative Lynn Greer].

The House Education Policy Committee amended and gave a favorable report to a bill that would add 4 non-voting members to the State Board of Education consisting of the current and most recent past teachers of the year and one student delegate each elected by the then currently serving delegates to Alabama Boys State and Alabama Girls State; would also require the Superintendent of Education to employ an administrative director to act as a liaison between the superintendent and the State Board of Education. The bill now goes to the full House [HB70 by Representative Terri Collins].

The House State Government Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would provide that a business license is not required for a person traveling through a municipality on business if the person is not operating a branch office or doing business in the municipality. The bill now goes to the full House [HB107 by Representative Paul Lee].

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The House Commerce and Small Business Committee amended, substituted and gave a favorable report to a 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 House [HB190 by Representative David Faulkner].

The Senate Constitution, Ethics and Elections Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would limit State Senators and Representatives from serving more than 3 consecutive terms of office. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB127 by Senator Bill Hightower].

The Senate Constitution, Ethics and Elections Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would require that vacancies in the Alabama House and Senate be filled by appointment of the Governor if there are less than 2 years remaining on the term of office at the time the vacancy occurs. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB15 by Senator Rusty Glover].

The House Agriculture and Forestry Commission gave a favorable report to a bill that would allow the taking of whitetail deer or feral swine by means of bait with a baiting privilege license from the Department of conservation and Natural Resources. The bill now goes to the full House [HB21 by Representative Jack (JW) Williams].

Significant Floor Action This Week

The House passed a bill that would require the Governor to appoint a person to fill a vacancy in the US Senate and schedule an election at the next regularly scheduled General Election instead of calling a Special Election. The bill is now pending in the Senate Constitution, Ethics and Elections Committee [HB17 by Representative Steve Clouse].

The Senate confirmed 5 new members to the University of South Alabama Board of Trustees: William Ronald Graham, Steven H. Stokes, Margie Malone Tuckson, Steven P. Furr and Lenus M. Perkins.

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The Senate substituted and passed a 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 House [SB143 by Senator Bobby Singleton].

The Senate passed a bill that would decrease the maximum amount of unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 14 weeks. The bill now goes to the House [SB92 by Senator Arthur Orr].

The Senate passed a 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 House [SB27 by Senator Jimmy Holley].

The House passed a bill that would authorize the Care Assurance System for the Aging and Homebound and its affiliated local centers to participate in the Local Government Health Insurance Program. The bill now goes to the Senate [HB48 by Representative Kerry Rich].

The Senate passed a bill that would expand the adjusted gross income range allowable for a maximum standard deduction for Alabama individual income tax purposes. The bill now goes to the House [SB76 by Senator Del Marsh].

The House passed a 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 Senate [HB54 by Representative Ron Johnson].

The Senate passed a bill that would provide for the voluntary transfer of a case from municipal court to the county district or circuit court when the defendant qualifies for a pretrial diversion program, mental health court, veteran court or similar program. The bill is now pending in the House Judiciary Committee [SB37 by Senator Cam Ward].

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The House passed a bill that would specify that the Alabama Family Trust Corporation would take all steps necessary to comply with all rules of the Social Security Administration. The bill is now pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee [HB30 by Representative Matt Fridy].

Budgets

The General Fund Budgets, HB156 sponsored by Rep. Clouse and SB178 sponsored by Sen. Pittman, are pending in the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee and the Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee, respectively.

The Education Trust Fund Budgets, HB175 by Rep. Poole and SB165 by Sen. Orr, are pending in the House Ways and Means Education Committee and the Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee, respectively.

Summary

  • Bill Introcued: 554
  • Bills that have passed house of origin: 88
  • Bills that have passed both houses: 3
  • Bills that are pending the governor’s signature: 3
Written By

DIG DEEPER

Featured Opinion

"With a large number of lawmakers still in support of the comprehensive gambling bill, a special session looms."

Opinion

"With the continued commitment of our state’s leaders, Alabama is well on the way to even brighter days."

Opinion

"In our regulatory capacity, our primary concern is to ensure there are adequate and enforceable safeguards."

Legislature

The Legislature will return to Montgomery on Tuesday, May 4 for day 28 of the session.