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Legislature

Weekly Legislative Session Report: Week Six

The Alabama Legislature met in session for Day 11 of the annual Regular Session on Tuesday, March 10. Thirty-one committee meetings were held during the week to consider legislation. Both Houses met in session on Thursday, March 12 for Day 12.
779 bills have been introduced so far this Session.

The Legislature will be on a scheduled break next week. The Senate will not convene the following week as well. The House will hold committee meetings on Wednesday, March 25 and convene for Day 13 of the Session on Thursday, March 26 at 9:30 a.m. Both Houses will then convene the following Tuesday, March 31, for Day 14.

DURING THE WEEK

SB165, known as the Compassion Act, was debated on the Senate floor Thursday. The legislation, sponsored by Senator Tim Melson, would authorize and regulate the use of medical cannabis for certain medical conditions. Senator Melson introduced a substitute to his bill. Following a lengthy debate and adoption of 10 additional amendments, the bill passed the Senate on a vote of 22-11. The bill will now go to the House of Representatives.

The Senate amended HB186 by Representative Steve Clouse which makes supplemental appropriations to various state agencies by adding an appropriation of $5 million to the Department of Public Health to be used for Coronavirus preparedness and response activities. After concurrence in the House, the bill was signed by the Governor (Act No. 2020-36).

The Senate Governmental Affairs committee held a public hearing, but did not vote, on SB57 by Senator Cam Ward that would require governmental bodies to adopt rules authorizing each citizen to inspect and copy any public record upon request made in accordance with this act. The sponsor offered a substitute to the bill that addressed some opponent concerns. He invited opponents to submit specific concerns for further negotiation.

The Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee held a public hearing, but did not vote, on a bill (SB144 by Senator Andrew Jones) that would reduce the amount of federal income taxes an Alabama taxpayer could deduct from his or her Alabama Income Tax return, and would exempt sales of food from state sales and use taxes beginning October 1, 2020.

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The Ethics Subcommittee of the House Ethics and Campaign Finance Committee met to discuss two bills that would make significant changes to the Ethics Law. HB127 by Representative Will Dismukes would remove teachers and administrators of public K-12 schools from the double dipping prohibition. HB179 by Representative Mike Ball would prohibit the Attorney General or a district attorney from presenting a suspected ethics violation to a grand jury without a referral by the Ethics Commission, and would add an additional member to the Commission.

The House Ways and Means General Fund Committee held a public hearing, but did not vote, on HB44 by Representative Matt Simpson that would include mental disease or disorder in the term occupational disease for purposes of workers’ compensation benefits paid to an emergency responder.

The Senate confirmed several board appointments including Edward F. Crowell to the Alabama Ethics Commission, John Tyson to the State Courses of Study Committee, and Senator Garlan Gudger to the Alabama Children’s Policy Council.

The House spent most of Thursday in Session passing 28 Sunset bills to continue certain state agencies including the State Licensing Board for General Contractors, the Board of Cosmetology and Barbering, the Real Estate Commission, and the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

BILLS PASSED BY HOUSE:

HB151 by Rep. Simpson HB214 by Rep. Rich
HB215 by Rep. Weaver HB235 by Rep. Gray
HB341 by Rep. Ledbetter SB12 by Senator Smitherman
SB111 by Senator Orr

BILLS PASSED BY SENATE:

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HB66 by Rep. McClammy

SIGNIFICANT FLOOR ACTION THIS WEEK

To provide that to be eligible for work release, inmates convicted of a violent offense shall be subject to electronic monitoring.

To create the “Teacher Bill of Rights,” granting teachers the right to use appropriate discipline, remove persistently disruptive students, and be treated with civility and respect, among others.

To provide that Alabama would observe Daylight Savings Time year- round if existing federal prohibition is repealed.

To authorize local boards of education to offer yoga to students in grades K-12.

To require each local board of education to employ a mental health service coordinator.

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To expand the Missing Senior Citizen Alert Act to include missing and endangered persons suffering from a mental or physical disability who are at risk of bodily harm or death.

To prohibit the manufacture, marketing, sale, distribution, use, and possession of synthetic urine or a urine additive to defraud an alcohol, drug, or urine screening test.

To authorize a municipality or county to establish a local redevelopment authority for property that is contiguous to an active US Air Force military installation.

HB272 by Rep. Weaver
SB45 by Senator Ward
SB189 by Senator Smitherman

To revise deadlines for candidates to qualify for the November 3, 2020 general election to accommodate the dates of the 2020 Republican National Convention.

To further provide for the crime of unauthorized entry of a critical infrastructure by prohibiting the operation of an unmanned aircraft system, or drone, to conduct surveillance of, gather evidence or collect information about, or photographically or electronically record a critical infrastructure except under certain conditions.

To require a board of education to hold a hearing when a student has been expelled or suspended for a period of more than 10 days, prevent a student in pre-K to 5th grade from being suspended or expelled unless the physical safety of students or personnel is endangered, and prohibit a student from being suspended or expelled for truancy or tardiness.

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BILLS CARRIED OVER IN THE SENATE:

SB127 by Senator Allen
SB255 by Senator Albritton

To expand the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act of 2017 and the jurisdiction of the Committee on Alabama Monument Protection, as well as increasing fines from a total of $25,000 to $5,000 per day.

To require the Judicial Resources Allocation Commission to meet and make a determination of whether to reallocate a judgeship within 30 days of a vacancy, and remove the provision that no judicial circuit may lose more than one judgeship through allocation in a two-year period.

HOUSE:

HB104 by Rep. Weaver
HB248 by Rep.Shaver
HB258 by Rep. Crawford

To prohibit the use of electronic nicotine delivery systems in any place where smoking is prohibited (House Commerce and Small Business Committee).

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Toestablishcriminalpenaltiesforaphysicianwhodoesnot exercise reasonable care to preserve the life of a child born alive after an abortion or attempted abortion in an abortion or reproductive health center (amended in House Judiciary Committee).

To specify that the definition of gross receipts, for the purposes of municipal business license taxes, does not include any excise tax imposed by the federal, state, and local governments (House County and Municipal Government Committee).

NOTEWORTHY BILLS REPORTED FROM COMMITTEE THIS WEEK

HB260 by Rep. C. Brown
HB365 by Rep. Collins
HB407 by Rep. Isbell
SB172 by Senator Orr
SB183 by Senator Sessions

SENATE:

HB81 by Rep. C. Brown
HB113 by Rep. C. Brown SB110 by Senator Orr

To exempt slot machines manufactured prior to 1960 from the crime of possession of a gambling device under certain circumstances (House Judiciary Committee)..

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To allow a licensed wine manufacturer to obtain a direct shipper permit to allow the permittee to ship limited quantities of table wine directly to Alabama residents (House Economic Development and Tourism Committee).

To provide for a delivery service license issued by the ABC Board to allow delivery of sealed beer and wine from certain retail establishments directly to individuals who are at least 21 years old (amended by House Economic Development and Tourism Committee).

To expand the right of some wireless providers to install their facilities on public rights-of-way, exempt these providers from certain zoning reviews and approval procedures, establish maximum rates and fees for permits, and exempt certain governmental entities which have ordinances or agreements regarding the industry (House Urban and Rural Development Committee).

To authorize any county to issue bonds to refund certain bonds previously issued by the county, and to ratify and confirm the validity of any refunding bonds originally issued prior to January 1, 2011 (House County and Municipal Government Committee).

A proposed Constitutional Amendment to provide that a person charged with a Class A felony, when the proof is evident or the presumption is great, and if no conditions of release can reasonably protect the community from risk of physical harm, be denied bail before conviction (Senate Judiciary Committee)..

To provide for additional offenses that would require mandatory denial of bail (Senate Judiciary Committee)..

To require public accommodations and facilities operated by public entities to install and maintain baby diaper changing stations accessible to both males and females (amended in Senate Governmental Affairs Committee).

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HOUSE:

HB413 by Rep. Simpson
HB418 by Rep. Clouse
HB430 by Rep. McMillan HB447 by Rep. M. Moore
HB448 by Rep. Hall
HB450 by Rep. Coleman
HB452 by Rep. Chestnut

SENATE:

SB284 by Senator Orr
SB286 by Senator Beasley
SB293 by Sen. Coleman-Madison

To require courts in the state to take judicial notice of municipal ordinances of a Class 2 municipality (House County and Municipal Government Committee).

A proposed Constitutional Amendment to establish an Alabama Lottery, including instant tickets and multi-state lottery games with the proceeds to be used for early childhood education and scholarships (House Economic Development and Tourism Committee).

To specify that Robert E. Lee Day would be observed on the second Monday in October (House State Government Committee).

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To expand Medicaid to provide assistance to all persons for whom matching funds are available to the state under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (House Ways and Means General Fund Committee).

To extend the postpartum coverage period for pregnant women eligible for Medicaid assistance (House Ways and Means General Fund Committee).

To decrease the number of tax delinquent properties a municipality must have to form a local land bank authority from 1,000 to 100 (House Ways and Means Education Committee).

To require the mayor or city manager of a municipality with certain annual expenditures to cause to be conducted an annual or biennial audit of the municipality, and report to the city council upon completion (House State Government Committee).

To require the Department of Revenue to centrally value aircraft instead of being assessed in the county in which the aircraft is domiciled (Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee).

To authorize the Secretary of State to conduct a one-time post- election pilot audit after the November 3, 2020 general election to determine the accuracy of the originally reported outcome of the election (Senate Governmental Affairs Committee).

To decrease the number of tax delinquent properties a municipality must have to form a local land bank authority from 1,000 to 100 (Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Commitee).

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SIGNIFICANT INTRODUCTIONS THIS WEEK

SB295 by Sen. Givhan
SB306 by Sen. Chesteen

SB310 by Sen. Figures
SB315 by Senator Orr
SB317 by Sen. Coleman-Madison
SB318 by Senator Chesteen

To exempt airport authorities from sales and use taxes, and provide for a certificate of exemption (Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee).

To establish the Elections Emergency Act and authorize the Governor to suspend or delay elections in the event of a declared state of emergency (Senate Governmental Affairs Committee).

To provide that the Director of the Alabama State Port Authority may increase the number of executive level employees, to allow the Port Authority to enter into employment contracts with former employees for the transitional period following retirement, and provide that the commercial terms of certain contract entered into by the Port Authority are exempt from certain state laws limiting confidentiality.

To provide for a reduced additional annual license tax and registration fee for electric low speed vehicles (Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee).

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To increase the threshold amount that subjects a public contract to the competitive bidding requirements from $15,000 to $25,000 (Senate Governmental Affairs Committee).

To require public K-12 schools to install water bottle filling stations in school facilities (Senate Education Policy Committee).

Beth Lyons
Written By

DIG DEEPER