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Week Twelve Legislative Report: Sine Die

Beth Lyons

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The Alabama Legislature adjourned the annual Regular Session Sine Die on Thursday, March 29 on the 26th Day of the Session. Unless there is a Special Session called by the Governor, the Legislature will convene for its annual 2019 Regular Session on Tuesday, March 5, 2019. As the next quadrennium begins after the General Elections in November, the Legislature will hold an Organizational Session in January to organize, elect leadership positions, and make all committee appointments.

On the final day of the Session, both Houses honored, by resolution and accolades, members who are not returning for the next quadrennium, either because of retirement or candidacy for another office. Eleven of the 35 Senators are not returning, including Mobile County Senators Rusty Glover and Bill Hightower and Baldwin County Senator Trip Pittman. Twenty-four members of the 105 House of Representatives are not returning which includes Mobile area Representatives James Buskey and Randy Davis as well as Representatives Jack (JW) Williams and David Sessions who are not seeking re-election but running for the Senate.

During the 2018 Regular Session, there were 168 bills enacted and 141 bill await the Governors signature. There were a total of 922 bills introduced during the Regular Session.

Bills passed in the last 5 days of the Session have 10 days from the date of adjournment to be signed by the Governor or they receive Pocket Vetoes.

SIGNIFICANT BILLS PASSED DURING THE LAST WEEK:

The Education Trust Fund Budget which includes funds for a 2.5% increase for K-12 employees, 197 additional middle school teachers, a $18 million increase for Pre-K, a $16 million increase for community colleges, a $27 million increase for 4 year colleges, and a $450,000 increase for public libraries [HB175 by Representative Bill Poole].

A Senate bill that would continue the existence and function of the State Pilotage Commission and increase the membership from 3 to 4 with the 4th member to be advisory only and appointed by the Governor from a list of nominations by the Chair of the Alabama State Port Authority Board [SB222 by Senator Trip Pittman].

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A House 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 [HB317 by Representative Ken Johnson].

A House 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 [HB470 by Representative Rod Scott].

A Senate bill that would further provide for persons charged with driving under the influence and the installation of ignition interlock devices [SB301 by Senator Paul Bussman].

A Senate bill that would require persons approved for a pretrial diversion program to have an ignition interlock device installed for a certain period of time and provide for distribution of court fees [SB1 by Senator Jim McClendon].

A House bill that would authorize the Alabama Department of Corrections to establish a pilot program to provide bonuses to assist in correctional officer retention [HB226 by Representative Jim Hill].

A Senate bill that would allow qualified retired law enforcement officers to carry firearms in certain designated places where firearms are otherwise not allowed [SB27 by Senator Jimmy Holley].

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 [SB318 by Senator Arthur Orr].

A House 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 after remarriage, and extend the benefits for minor children [HB192 by Representative Matt Fridy].

A House 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 [HB118 by Representative Steve McMillan].

Two House bills that would extend the nursing facility privilege assessment and private hospital assessment that help fund Medicaid for a period of 1 year [HB321 and HB322 by Representative Steve Clouse].

A Senate bill that would add Fentanyl and synthetic Fentanyl analogues to Schedule I of the controlled substances list and provide criminal penalties for trafficking of these drugs [SB39 by Senator Cam Ward].

A Senate bill that would revise the state Ethics Law regarding minor violations and revise the manner in which a criminal investigation may be initiated by the State Ethics Commission [SB267 by Senator Cam Ward].

A House 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 [HB354 by Representative Corey Ellis].

A Senate bill that would provide that a party desiring to redeem property sold to the state for unpaid taxes would pay interest only on the taxes due at the time of default [SB257 by Senator Hank Sanders].

SIGNIFICANT BILLS WHICH FAILED THIS SESSION:

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 Office of the Attorney General [SB84 by Senator Rodger Smitherman].

A House bill that would authorize certain persons employed by a state or local board of education to carry a firearm on school premises [HB435 by Representative Will Ainsworth].

Two bills that would have further regulated assault weapons [HB434 by Juandalynn Givan and HB472 by Representative Mary Moore].

A House 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 [HB21 by Representative Jack (JW) Williams].

A House 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].

A House bill that would require a person seeking public office through a write-in candidacy to file a statement with voting officials in order for the write-in votes to be counted [HB241 by Representative Ron Johnson].

A House bill that would make genital mutilation of a female under the age of 19 a Class D felony [HB284 by Representative Connie Rowe].

A House bill that would prohibit the possession or sale of sky lanterns [HB325 by Representative Ron Johnson].

A House bill that would require all principal campaign committees and political action committees that meet the threshold for filing campaign finance reports to file the reports electronically with the Secretary of State [HB346 by Representative Corey Harbison].

A House bill that would create the Alabama Task Force on School Safety and Security and would authorize the task force to annually study the current educational and safety laws, rules, and policies of the state in order to assist the Legislature in making effective changes to protect and benefit the citizens of the state [HB447 by Representative Terri Collins].

A Senate 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 [SB37 by Senator Cam Ward].

A proposed Constitutional Amendment that would 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 removal from office [SB88 by Senator Gerald Dial].

A Senate bill that would add roasted coffees to the list of in-home cottage food production that are exempt from regulation by the State Department of Health and county health departments [SB297 by Senator Rusty Glover].

A Senate bill that would add a manufacturers license that conducts tastings or samplings to the types of alcoholic beverage licenses in an area where a municipality seeks to establish an entertainment district [SB339 by Senator Rodger Smitherman].

A Senate bill 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 [SB364 by Senator Arthur Orr].

A House 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 [HB17 by Representative Steve Clouse].

A House bill that would substantially overhaul the Juvenile Justice System, and provide for community-based treatment centers for certain low-level offenders [HB225 by Representative Jim Hill].

A House bill that would allow a local employer participating in the Employees’ Retirement System to provide the same retirement benefits given to Tier I plan members to its Tier II plan members [HB344 by Representative Nathaniel Ledbetter].

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 [SB13 by Senator Greg Albritton].

A Senate bill that would extend, until 2022, income tax credits for homeowners and businesses who participate in neighborhood revitalization projects through Neighborhood Infrastructure Authorities [SB49 by Senator Trip Pittman].

A Senate bill that would decrease the maximum amount of unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 14 weeks [SB92 by Senator Arthur Orr].

A Senate bill that would allow a municipality to authorize law enforcement officers to issue a summons and complaint in lieu of custodial arrest for all misdemeanors and violations, with certain exceptions [SB154 by Senator Tim Melson].

SIGNIFICANT BILLS ENACTED:

HB347 to 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

SB76 to expand the adjusted gross income range allowable for a maximum standard deduction for Alabama individual income tax purposes

HB279 to 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

SB175 to make a $30 million supplemental appropriation for the Department of Corrections

SB258 to 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

HB228 to 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

SB15, a 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

HB76 to provide oversight of currently license exempt faith-based child care facilities

SB100 to establish the Alabama Infrastructure Bank to provide for the appropriation and pledge of certain tax revenues, motor vehicle license taxes and registration fees, diesel fuel tax revenues, and motor carrier tax revenues

SB185 to authorize a 3% cost-of-living increase for state employees

SB272 to allow capital defendants to be executed by nitrogen hypoxia if lethal injection is unavailable or the defendant so chooses

SB215 to allow certain retirees under the Employees’ Retirement System to receive a one-time lump-sum bonus to their retirement allowances

HB174 to give a cost-of-living increase of 2.5% to public education employees

SB148 to authorize a county to use warrant funds on public facilities owned by a municipality located within the county

SB38 to authorize former or retired probate judges meeting specified requirements to serve as private judges in probate cases that are removed to circuit court

SB352 to increase the amount a licensed manufacturer of liquor may sell at retail for off-premises consumption from 750 milliliters per day to 4.5 liters per day. The bill returned to the Senate for action on the House substitute which was approved

SB181, a proposed Constitutional Amendment that would allow displays of the Ten Commandments or other religious displays on state property including public schools

SB222 to continue the existence and function of the State Pilotage Commission and increase the membership from 3 to 4 with the 4th member to be advisory only and appointed by the Governor from a list of nominations by the Chair of the Alabama State Port Authority Board

SB113 to prohibit a sheriff from placing conditions or requirements on the issuance of a pistol permit unless expressly provided by law

HB107 to 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

HB302 to provide for the regulation of tagging of oysters and require an annual oyster aquaculture license

HB457 to further provide auditing procedures for pharmacy records and would limit recoupment for certain errors by a pharmacy

HB376 to authorize the State Fire Marshal to regulate and issue pyrotechnic display operator licenses and pyrotechnic special effects operator licenses to persons who provide fireworks displays, pyrotechnics, and related special effects to an audience

HB194 to require the Department of Public Health to establish a form for an Order for Pediatric Palliative and End of Life Care to be used by medical professionals outlining medical care provided to a minor with a terminal illness

HB298 to 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

HB334 to authorize the Local Government Health Insurance Board to adopt terms and conditions necessary to administer the payment of health care services on behalf of employer participants in the Local Government Health Insurance Program whose eligible employees or officials suffer on-the-job injury

HB494 o re-authorize certain sales and property tax abatements for data processing centers for an additional five year period

SHROUD AWARD:

During a ceremony right before adjournment, the Alabama House presented the “Shroud Award” to Representative Ritchie Whorton from Scottsboro. This award is given each year to the member of the House who has the “deadest” House of Representatives bill during the Session. The award is a black funeral suit mounted on cardboard and accompanied with a witty resolution naming the recipient as well as the runners-up. The legislation, which resulted in this award for Representative Whorton, would have required operators of vehicles to use lighted headlamps from sunset to sunrise instead of from a half hour after sunset to a half our before sunrise. Runners-up were Representative Rolanda Hollis of Birmingham for her bills to regulate micorblading and eyelash extension facilities, Representative Jack Williams of Birmingham for his bill to establish the Association of Former Members of the Alabama Legislature, and Representative Mark Tuggle of Alexander City for his bill to levy a fee in lieu of property taxes on lands owned by Forever Wild.

SUMMARY:

  • Bill introduced: 922
  • Bills which passed house of origin: 448
  • Bills which passed both houses: 324
  • Bills which are pending the governor’s signature: 141
  • Bills which have been vetoed: 0
  • Constitutional amendment bills pending referendum: 15
  • Bills enacted: 168

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