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Week Nine Legislative Report

Beth Lyons

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By Beth Marietta Lyons
Lyons Law Firm

The Alabama Legislature convened for day 17 of the annual Regular Session on Tuesday, March 6 with twenty-nine committee meetings held throughout the week to consider legislation. Both Houses then convened on Thursday, March 8 for Day 18.

There have been 885 bills introduced to date.

The Legislature will return to Montgomery on Tuesday, March 13 for day 19 of the Session with the House convening at 1:00 p.m. and the Senate at 3:00 p.m. Fourteen committees have scheduled meetings as of the time of this report.

DURING THE WEEK:

Governor Ivey held a press conference to announce the formation of the Securing Alabama Facilities of Education (SAFE) Council to review existing school security policies, examine proposed legislation and policy recommendations, and report findings and recommendations to the Governor by April 30, 2018.

A rally was held to support legislation that would establish December 1 as a holiday honoring late civil rights leader Rosa Parks.

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An Autism rally was held to support legislation to end the age limit for insurance coverage for Autism Spectrum Disorders.

SIGNIFICANT INTRODUCTIONS THIS WEEK:

A bill was introduced in the House that would provide that certain provisions of the Alabama Telemarketing Act would apply to charitable organizations soliciting donations. The bill is pending in the House Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure Committee [HB488 by Representative Chris Sells].

A bill was introduced in the House that would require the Alabama Department of Mental Health to establish and operate a statewide mental health crisis telephone hotline to assist persons in mental health crises. The bill is pending in the House Health Committee [HB489 by Representative April Weaver].

A bill was introduced in both Houses that would require a county, municipality or local school board entering a bond financing agreement to include a schedule of all of their debt obligations for the time span of the maturity of the debt obligation. The bill is pending in the Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee [SB364 by Senator Arthur Orr and HB500 by Representative Chris Sells].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would allow the disclosure of certain grand jury evidence and testimony relating to an officer-involved shooting that results in the death of a person. The bill is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee [SB366 by Senator Vivian Figures].

A proposed Constitutional Amendment was introduced in the Senate that would provide that the Forever Wild Land Trust may not acquire property in a county having a population of 20,000 of less if the property held by the trust in the county exceeds or will exceed 11,000 acres unless approved by the county commission. The bill is pending in the Senate County and Municipal Government Committee [SB370 by Senator Clyde Chambliss].

A proposed Constitutional Amendment was introduced in the Senate that would provide a specific tax rate to individuals, and provide for certain tax credits and deductions. The bill is pending in the Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee [SB375 by Senator Bill Hightower].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would allow create the Voluntary Alabama Firearms Do Not Sell List and allow a person to restrict his or her firearm purchasing authority by voluntarily adding his or her name to the List. The bill is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee [SB376 by Senator Trip Pittman].

SIGNIFICANT COMMITTEE ACTION THIS WEEK:

The Senate County and Municipal Government Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would exempt prescription drugs from the calculation of business license taxes based on gross receipts. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB349 by Senator Billy Beasley].

The Senate County and Municipal Government Committee gave a favorable report to a House 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 Senate [HB148 by Representative Randy Davis].

The House Ways and Means General Fund Committee amended and gave a favorable report to a bill that would allow an out-of-state vendor participating in the Simplified Sales and Use Tax Remittance Program (SSUT) to continue to participate in the Program if a physical presence in the state is established through the acquisition of an in-state company, provide that the transaction is subject to sales tax if completed at a retail establishment, and provide that the eligible seller also includes sales through a marketplace facilitator. The bill now goes to the full House [HB470 by Representative Rod Scott].

The House Ways and Means General Fund Committee substituted and gave a favorable report to the $1.75 billion General Fund Budget which includes an additional $53.8 million for Medicaid, an additional $55 million for Corrections, and funds for a 3% cost of living increase for non-education state employees. The bill now goes to the full House [SB178 by Senator Trip Pittman].

The House Ways and Means General Fund Committee gave a favorable report to a Senate bill that would make a $30 million supplemental appropriation for the Department of Corrections. The bill now goes to the full House [SB175 by Senator Trip Pittman].

The House Ways and Means General Fund Committee amended and gave a favorable report to a Senate bill, and its House companion, that would authorize a 3% cost-of-living increase for state employees. The bills now go to the full House [SB185 by Senator Clyde Chambliss and HB150 by Representative Dimitri Polizos].

The House Ways and Means General Fund Committee substituted and gave a favorable report to a Senate bill, and its House companion, that would allow certain retirees under the Employees’ Retirement System to receive a funded one-time lump-sum addition to their retirement allowances. The bills now go to the full House [SB215 by Senator Gerald Dial and HB440 by Representative Kerry Rich].

The House Governmental Affairs Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would require law enforcement officers to complete sensitivity training, and would require law enforcement agencies to recruit licensed social workers to law enforcement officers. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB335 by Senator Rodger Smitherman].

The House Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee gave a favorable report to a Senate proposed Constitutional Amendment that would require that if a vacancy in the Alabama House or Senate occurs on or after October 1 of the third year of a quadrennium the seat would remain vacant until the next succeeding general election. The bill now goes to the full House [SB15 by Senator Rusty Glover].

The House Ways and Means Education Committee amended and gave a favorable report to a bill that would exempt the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo from payment of state, county, and municipal sales and use taxes related to capital expenditures for four years. The bill now goes to the full House [HB118 by Representative Steve McMillan].

The Senate Transportation and Energy Committee substituted and gave a favorable report to a House bill 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. The bill now goes to the full Senate [HB298 by Representative Paul Lee].

Both the House Health Committee and the Senate Health and Human Services Committee substituted and gave favorable reports to companion bills that would further provide auditing procedures for pharmacy records and would limit recoupment for certain errors by a pharmacy [HB457 by Representative Elaine Beech and SB348 by Senator Billy Beasley].

The Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee gave a favorable report to a House bill that would give a cost-of-living increase of 2.5% to public education employees. The bill now goes to the full Senate [HB174 by Representative Bill Poole].

The Senate Judiciary Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would make it a crime for any state, municipality, county official, agency, or personnel to intentionally aid or enable any individual in the commission of any violation of federal or state immigration law. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB302 by Senator Bill Hightower].

The Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee held a public hearing, but did not vote, on a bill that would require any tax credit, exemption, deduction of preferential tax rate enacted in 2019 or later to expire within seven years of the effective date unless extended by the Legislature [SB187 by Senator Bill Hightower].

The House Agriculture and Forestry Committee substituted and gave a favorable report to a bill that would further provide for permits for living shoreline restoration, and for the use of source sediment by riparian property owners. The bill now goes to the full House [HB370 by Representative Randy Davis].

The House Judiciary Committee gave a favorable report to a Senate bill that would allow capital defendants to be executed by nitrogen hypoxia if lethal injection is unavailable or the defendant so chooses. The bill now goes to the full House [SB272 by Senator Trip Pittman].

The House Judiciary Committee held a public hearing, but did not vote, on a Senate bill that would require county and municipal police departments and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency to adopt written policies to prohibit racial profiling, compile statistic on traffic stops and file reports with the Attorney General’s Office [SB84 by Senator Rodger Smitherman].

The House Technology and Research Committee amended and gave a favorable report to a Senate bill that would require certain entities to provide notice to certain persons upon a breach of security that results in the unauthorized acquisition of sensitive personally identifying information. The bill now goes to the full House [SB318 by Senator Arthur Orr].

The House State Government Committee gave a favorable report to a Senate proposed Constitutional Amendment that would allow displays of the Ten Commandments or other religious displays on state property including public schools. The bill now goes to the full House [SB181 by Senator Gerald Dial].

The House Agriculture and Forestry Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would provide for the depositing of material from the dredging of the inlets of the state. The bill now goes to the full House [HB422 by Representative David Sessions].

The Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would allow funds in the Education Trust Fund Budget Stabilization Fund to be used for school security. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB323 by Senator Trip Pittman].

SIGNIFICANT FLOOR ACTION THIS WEEK:

The Senate passed a Mobile County House bill that would establish the regulatory authority for the Mobile County Health Department to regulate intermittent food service establishments that prepare food in association with a temporary exempt event that is a regional celebration, tradition, or cultural event designated as such by Mobile County, if the intermittent food service establishment does not prepare, sell, or distribute food on a regular basis in its regular line of business. The bill now goes to the Governor [HB347 by Representative Margie Wilcox].

The House amended and passed a bill 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 now pending in the Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee [HB317 by Representative Ken Johnson].

The Senate passed a bill that would revise the lodging tax to exclude certain rentals that are not for overnight accommodations from the lodging tax. The bill is now pending in the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee [SB226 by Senator Paul Sanford].

The Senate amended and passed a bill that would allow manufacturers and dealers of boats located within the State to make application to the Department of Revenue for the authority to issue temporary license plates and registration certificates for boat trailers when sold out of state. The bill is now pending in the House Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure Committee [SB293 by Senator Bill Hightower].

The Senate amended and passed a bill that would further provide for persons charged with driving under the influence and the installation of ignition interlock devices. The bill is now pending in the House Judiciary Committee [SB301 by Senator Paul Bussman].

The Senate passed a bill that would add a manufacturers license to the types of alcohol beverage licenses for an establishment that conduct tastings or samplings in an entertainment district. The bill is now pending in the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee [SB339 by Senator Rodger Smitherman].

The House substituted, amended and passed a Senate bill that would require commercial food service establishments that utilize grease traps to provide locking manhole covers or otherwise secure the covers against unauthorized access. The bill returned to the Senate for action on the House amendments which were approved. The bill now goes to the Governor [SB258 by Senator Tom Whatley].

The Senate passed a bill that would authorize the Adjutant General of the Alabama National Guard to establish and award the Cold War Victory Medal to eligible members of the Alabama National Guard or armed forces. The bill is now pending in the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee [SB225 by Senator Jim McClendon].

The House passed a Senate 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 Governor [SB76 by Senator Del Marsh].

The Senate passed a bill that would set the term of all deferred presentment transactions (payday loans) at 30 calendar days. The bill is now pending in the House Financial Services Committee [SB138 by Senator Arthur Orr].

The Senate passed a bill that would require all county superintendents be appointed by the county board of education, except as otherwise provided by the Alabama Constitution. The bill is now pending in the House Education Policy Committee SB280 by Senator Dick Brewbaker].

The House passed a bill that would revise the tax lien sale procedures for counties to authorize tax liens to be sold at auction to the bidder with the lowest interest rate. The bill is now pending in the Senate County and Municipal Government Committee [HB354 by Representative Corey Ellis].

The Senate passed a House bill that would permit, but not mandate, the use of the national motto “In God We Trust” by government agencies and offices, in and on public buildings, including government office buildings, public school classrooms, and on vehicles. The bill now goes to the Governor [HB228 by Representative David Standridge].

The Senate passed a House bill that would remove the requirement for homeowners to submit copies of construction records in order to receive an insurance premium discount for meeting certain construction standards making a home resistant to strong winds if the property is certified by the Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) and evidence of that certification is submitted. The bill now goes to the Governor [HB279 by Representative Randy Davis].

The House passed a bill that would provide for the issuance of a non-profit special events retail license, and provides that a licensed manufacturer may donate its product to a licensed non-profit special event. The bill is now pending in the Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee [HB414 by Representative Craig Ford].

The Senate debated and carried over the following bills:

A bill that would establish work requirements for eligibility to participate in Medicaid, and require the Alabama Medicaid Agency to implement semi-annual eligibility verification [SB140 by Representative Arthur Orr].

A bill that would revise the tax lien sale procedures for counties to authorize tax liens to be sold at auction to the bidder with the lowest interest rate [SB261 by Senator Gerald Dial].

A House bill that would modify the Wallace-Folsom Savings Investment Plan to authorize a contribution to, and continued investment in, an ACES Program or ABLE Program savings account by the guardian or conservator of the designated beneficiary, and allow the distributions from the accounts be used toward expenses at any higher education institution [HB251 by Representative Ken Johnson].

A House bill that would provide oversight of currently license exempt faith-based child care facilities [HB76 by Representative Pebblin Warren].

BUDGETS:

  • The state Education Trust Fund Budget, HB17 by Rep. Poole, has passed the House and is pending in the Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee.
  • The General Fund Budget, SB178 by Sen. Pittman, has passed the Senate and has been substituted and given a favorable report by the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee. It’s pending action by the full House.

SUMMARY:

  • Bills introduced: 885
  • Bills which have passed house of origin: 352
  • Bills which have passed both houses: 146
  • Bills which are pending governor’s signature: 51
  • Bills which have been vetoed: 0
  • Constitutional Amendment bills pending referendum: 11
  • Bills enacted: 80

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