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Legislature

Weekly 2019 Legislative Session report

Beth Lyons

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The Alabama Legislature met for Day 16 of its annual Regular Session on Tuesday, May 7. Thirty-eight
committee meetings and 2 subcommittee meetings were held throughout the week to consider legislation. Both Houses met on Wednesday, May 8 and Thursday, May 9 for Days 17 and 18.

Exactly 1,000 bills have been introduced to date.

The Legislature will return to Montgomery on Tuesday, May 14 for Day 19 of the Session with the House
convening at 1:00 p.m. and the Senate at 4:00 p.m.

SIGNIFICANT DURING THE WEEK:

The House Economic Development and Tourism Committee held a public hearing on the Senate passed
lottery proposal. A substitute was discussed which would change the distribution of the proceeds to 75 percent to the General Fund and 25 percent to the Education Trust Fund instead of repaying the Alabama Trust Fund for transfers made to the General Fund, then one-half to the Alabama Trust Fund and one-half to the General Fund. A vote is expected in the House committee next week [SB220 by Senator Greg Albritton].

The bill that would prohibit cities and counties from regulating, restricting or prohibiting the litter of bags, cups, bottles and packaging was brought up on the Senate floor but failed to survive a procedural vote that would have allowed a vote on the bill [SB244 by Senator Steve Livingston].

The bill that would make possession of less than one ounce of marijuana a violation punishable by a fine,
as opposed to a misdemeanor, was amended in a subcommittee to change the amount to 5 grams or less. The bill was debated in the full committee but was defeated on a 6-5 vote [HB96 by Representative Laura Hall].

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Following a lengthy debate on Wednesday in the Senate the bill that would allow the use of medical
marijuana if a person has a qualifying condition and a valid medical cannabis card was carried over just before the Senate adjourned for the day. On Thursday morning, just after convening, the Senate passed the bill on a 17-6 vote. The bill is now pending in the House Health Committee [SB236 by Senator Tim Melson].

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A proposed Constitutional Amendment was introduced in the Senate that would rename the State Board
of Education as the Alabama Commission on Elementary and Secondary Education and provide that the
members would be appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation of the Senate, instead of being elected by the voters in eight districts. The bill is pending in the Senate Education Policy Committee [SB397 by Senator Del Marsh].

The bill that would make it a felony to perform an abortion was brought up on the Senate floor. After
a committee amendment which would have allowed an exemption for an abortion for rape or incest was
removed from the bill, the Senate adjourned until next week delaying a vote on the bill [HB314 by Representative Terri Collins].

SIGNIFICANT INTRODUCTIONS THIS WEEK:

A bill was introduced in the House that would remove the religious exemption for immunization of
children for participation in schools. The bill is pending in the House Health Committee [HB592 by
Representative Scott Stadthagen].

A Mobile County local bill was introduced in the House that would provide for the distribution of a portion of the county’s and municipalities’ share of the simplified sellers use tax (SSUT) to the Circuit Court of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit. The bill is pending in the House Mobile County Legislation Committee [HB598 by Representative Barbara Drummond].

A proposed Constitutional Amendment was introduced in the House that would allow for the
advertisement of local bills on the internet prior to introduction in the Legislature, instead of in a local newspaper.
The bill is pending in the House State Government Committee [HB577 by Representative Andrew Sorrell].

A bill was introduced in the House that would require the Secretary of State to create, maintain, host, and
operate a website on which public notices may be published with the same legal effect as publishing in a
newspaper. The bill is pending in the House State Government Committee [HB576 by Representative Andrew Sorrell].

A bill was introduced in the House that would authorize municipalities to provide an alternate electronic
process for the processing and recordation of business license renewals specific to that municipality. The bill is pending in the House County and Municipal Government Committee [HB582 by Representative Dickie Drake].

A bill was introduced in the House that would authorize a man who is not the presumed father of a child
but who believes himself to be the child’s biological father to petition the court for genetic testing to challenge paternity. The bill is pending in the House Judiciary Committee [HB590 by Representative Gil Isbell].

A bill was introduced in both Houses that would create a new statewide pistol permit called the Lifetime
Carry Permit which would be notated in the state database and linked to the driver license system [HB595 by Representative Proncey Robertson and SB392 by Senator Randy Price].

A bill was introduced in the House that would provide further for the employees and operations of the
Mobile County Legislative Delegation Office. The bill is pending in the House Mobile County Legislation
Committee [HB586 by Representative Napoleon Bracy].

SIGNIFICANT COMMITTEE ACTION THIS WEEK:

The House Commerce and Small Business Committee substituted and gave a favorable report to a bill
that would prohibit an employer from paying any of its employees at wage rates less than those paid to
employees of another sex or race for equal work. The bill now goes to the full House [HB225 by Representative Adline Clarke].

The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee held a public hearing, but did not vote, on a bill that would
establish the Alabama Court Cost Commission who would review existing laws imposing court costs and make recommendations to the Legislature as to whether existing laws should be amended, repealed or left unchanged and to review and approve any proposed legislation before introduction to the Legislature [SB217 by Senator Greg Albritton].

The House Health Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would require a physician to exercise
reasonable care to preserve the life of a child born alive after an abortion or attempted abortion. The bill now goes to the full House [HB491 by Representative Ginny Shaver].

The Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund committee gave a favorable report to a House bill that
would require municipal fire departments provide supplemental insurance coverage to pay the claims of a career firefighter who has served 12 consecutive months and has been diagnosed with cancer under certain conditions.

The bill now goes to the full Senate [HB360 by Representative Phillip Pettus].

The Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee gave a favorable report to a House bill that
would provide a two-step salary increase for certain employees in specified classifications of the Department of Corrections, and would allow certain officers and employees to receive payment for accrued, unused leave. The bill now goes to the full Senate [HB468 by Representative Chris England].

The House Judiciary Committee amended and gave a favorable report to a bill that would require a
person convicted of a sex offense involving a person under the age of 13 to undergo chemical castration as a condition of parole. The bill now goes to the full House [HB379 by Representative Steve Hurst].

The House Education Policy Committee held a public hearing, but did not vote, on a Senate bill that
would allow public schools to offer elective courses focusing on the study of the Bible in grades 6 to 12 and allow for the display of artifacts, monuments, symbols, and texts related to the study of the Bible [SB14 by Senator Tim Melson].

The House Ways and Means General Fund Committee amended and gave a favorable report to a
Senate bill that would update the amnesty and class action provisions of the Simplified Sellers Use Tax (SSUT) and clarify transactions for which the tax cannot be collected and remitted. The bill now goes to the full House [SB153 by Senator Tim Melson].

A House Economic Development and Tourism Committee held a public hearing, but did not vote, on
a bill that would provide for a delivery service permit that would allow the permittee to contract with certain licensed retail establishments to deliver sealed alcoholic beverages directly to Alabama residents who are at least 21 years of age for their personal use [HB519 by Representative Gil Isbell].

The Senate Transportation and Energy Committee amended and gave a favorable report to a bill that
would require a municipality to receive approval from the Alabama State Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) prior to being authorized to use automated traffic enforcement systems. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB348 by Senator Gerald Allen].

The Senate Transportation and Energy Committee amended and gave a favorable report to a bill that
would further provide for the process of issuing notice to pay a toll and would authorize the non-renewal of the vehicle registration for vehicles whose owners fail to pay the required toll and administration fees. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB347 by Senator David Sessions].

The Senate Transportation and Energy Committee held a public hearing, substituted and gave a favorable report to a bill that would give wireless providers nearly unlimited access to city and county rights-of-way for the installation of small cell structures and create a new process for an exemption for wireless providers from rights-of-way requirements of a city and a county. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB264 by Senator Arthur Orr].

SIGNIFICANT FLOOR ACTION THIS WEEK:

The Senate passed a House bill that would authorize the Town of Dauphin Island to establish up to three
entertainment districts within its corporate limits if certain qualifications are met. The bill is now pending action by the Governor [HB224 by Representative Chip Brown].

The House amended and passed a bill that would provide for the registration of certain fantasy sports
operators, require the implementation of procedures for consumer protection, and exempt fantasy sports contests from the state prohibition against gambling. The bill now goes to the Senate [HB361 by Representative Kyle South].

The Senate passed a House bill that would require the Alabama Historical Commission to commission
monuments for Rosa Parks and Helen Keller to be located on the Capitol grounds. The bill now goes to the Governor [HB287 by Representative Laura Hall].

The Senate amended and passed a House bill that would require that the pledge of allegiance to the US
flag be conducted at the beginning of each school day in public K-12 schools. The bill now returns to the House for action on the Senate amendment [HB339 by Representative Nathaniel Ledbetter].

The House substituted and passed a bill to further provide for the acceptance of certain unimproved
roads and regulate the construction of certain other unimproved roads in Mobile County. The bill is now pending
in the Senate Local Legislation Mobile County Committee [HB281 by Representative Chip Brown].

The House carried over a bill that would prohibit a person from holding or otherwise using his or her
body to support a wireless communication device or standalone electronic device while operating a motor vehicle [HB404 by Representative K L Brown].

The Senate amended and passed a bill that would provide for a $10 million allocation of motor fuel
excise taxes to the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs to facilitate growth of inland ports and transfer facilities, and for the coordination of a transportation system for inland waterways. The bill is now pending in the House County and Municipal Government Committee [SB268 by Senator Arthur Orr].

The Senate passed a proposed Constitutional Amendment that would provide that only a citizen of the
United States has the right to vote. The bill is now pending in the House Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee [SB313 by Senator Del Marsh].

 

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