The Alabama Legislature convened for day seven of the 30-day Regular Session on Tuesday, Feb. 23. The Legislature met in session all three days with 21 committee meetings held throughout the week. Some 745 bills have been introduced to date: 470 in the House and 275 in the Senate.
The Legislature will return to Montgomery on Tuesday, March 2, for day 10 of the session with the House convening at 1 p.m. and the Senate convening at 2 p.m.
During the week
At the request of the sponsor, SB214 regarding casinos and lottery was not taken up by the Senate. Senator Marsh indicated that he was holding the bill for a few weeks to receive input from members and interested parties before proceeding.
The Senate passed the bill by Senator Tim Melson to authorize and regulate the cultivation, processing, dispensing and prescription use of medical cannabis. The Senate also took up a number of bills that saw little opposition, including one that would create more enforcement mechanisms for local school board members to ensure state requirements are being followed, and one to allow law enforcement agencies to use automated license plate recognition systems on public highways in certain circumstances.
The House passed a number of bills, including the twenty-five Sunset bills which are required each year to reauthorize certain boards and commissions, including the State Board of Medical Licensure Commission, the Onsite Wastewater Board, and the State Board of Midwifery.
The Senate confirmed nine of the Governor’s board and commission appointments this week including Tony Cochran, Alvin K. Hope, Patricia Sims, and Carl Jamison to the Alabama State Port Authority Board of Directors.
Significant floor passage this week in the House:
HB14 by Rep. Reynolds To exempt airport authorities from paying sales and use taxes, and to include
airport authorities in the list of governmental entities that may be issued an
annual certificate of exemption.
HB73 by Rep. Hill To require every judicial circuit to establish a community punishment and corrections program in at least one county in the circuit.
HB130 by Rep. C. Brown To provide for additional offenses that would require mandatory denial of bail.
HB131 by Rep. C. Brown A proposed Constitutional Amendment that would require reasonable bail in all cases, except for offenses enumerated by the Legislature by general law.
HB235 by Rep. McMillan To permit a pet dog in an outdoor dining area of a food service establishment under certain conditions.
HB281 by Rep. Gaston To extend the income tax credit for the rehabilitation of qualified historic structures to be used for for a commercial or business purpose through 2027
(Amended to delete use of credit for single-family residences and to shorten the time period for the extension of the credit).
Significant floor passage this week in the Senate:
SB1 by Sen. Orr To authorize the State Health Officer or any county health officer to employ or engage contact tracers to trace those individuals who may have come into contact with an individual infected with COVID-19, and to provide privacy protections.
SB46 by Sen. Melson To authorize and regulate the cultivation, processing, dispensing and use of medical cannabis.
SB65 by Sen. Sessions To provide an alternative procedure for the dissolution of a public park and recreation beach board under certain conditions and for the transfer of the property of the board to the municipality where the public park is located upon approval of both the county and the municipality.
SB113 by Sen. Orr To prohibit state or local law enforcement agencies from using artificial intelligence or a facial recognition service to engage in ongoing surveillance except in certain circumstances.
Significant House committee action this week:
HB1 by Rep. Allen To prohibit the performance of a medical procedure or the prescription or issuance of medication, upon or to a minor child, that is intended to alter the appearance of the minor child’s gender or delay puberty (Amended in House Judiciary Committee).
HB94 by Rep. Ingram To include a wildland firefighter employed by the Alabama Forestry Commission within the definition of a firefighter who is eligible for disability and death benefits, and to specify that a volunteer firefighter who dies of certain conditions within 24 hours of preparing to respond, responding, or serving in his or her capacity would be deemed to have died in the performance of his or her duties (House Ways and Means General Fund).
HB136 by Rep. C. Brown To designate the Dauphin Island Sea Lab as the official Aquarium of Alabama (House State Government Committee).
HB179 by Rep. Clarke To provide for an increase in the number of executive level employees which the
director of the Alabama State Port Authority is entitled to appoint, and to provide
that the commercial terms of certain contracts entered into by the Port Authority
are exempt from certain state law limiting confidentiality (Amended in House
State Government Committee).
HB246 by Rep. Gray To authorize local boards of education to offer yoga to students in grades K-12
(House Education Policy Committee).
HB283 by Rep. Daniels To exempt the Alabama School of Fine Arts Foundation, The Alabama High School of Mathematics and Science Foundation, and the Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering Foundation, from any state, county, and municipal sales and use taxes (Amended in House Ways and Means Education Committee).
HB386 by Rep. Rich To provide for a specific designation for sparkling devices and novelties, to increase fees collected by the State Fire Marshal, and to further provide for the distribution of the fees collected (House Insurance Committee).
HB391 by Rep. Stadthagen To provide that public K-12 schools may not participate in, sponsor, or provide coaching staff for interscholastic athletic events at which athletes are allowed to participate in competition against athletes who are of a different biological gender (House Education Policy Committee).
HB403 by Rep. Stringer To create the crime of doxing, publicly revealing private personal information, and to establish penalties for violations (Amended in House Judiciary Committee).
HB404 by Rep. South To provide that a student athlete may earn compensation for the use of the student’s name, image or likeness (Substituted and amendment in House State Government Committee)
HB410 by Rep. Lee To extend the existing sales and use tax exemption on parts, components, and systems used in the refurbishing of aircraft (House Ways and means Education Committee).
SB55 by Sen. Melson To authorize the sale of certain consumer fireworks within a municipality (House Insurance Committee).
SB78 by Sen. Waggoner To establish the Alabama Council on Advanced Technology and Artificial Intelligence to review and advise the Governor, Legislature, and the education, health services, workforce development, and manufacturing communities on the use and development of advanced technology and artificial intelligence in the
state (House State Government Committee).
SB80 by Sen. Butler To require a county or municipality within two miles of any portion of a military
installation to give an affected military installation notice and an opportunity for review of any proposed tall structure or wind energy facility for potential impacts prior to approving the tall structure or wind energy facility (Amended in House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee).
SB107 by Sen. Elliott To limit the police jurisdiction of a municipality to territory in the police jurisdiction of the municipality on the effective date of this act and to provide for the reduction or elimination of a police jurisdiction (Public Hearing, but no vote, in House County and Municipal Government Committee).
SB126 by Sen. Waggoner To provide for a delivery service license issued by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board that would allow the licensee to deliver sealed beer and wine from certain licensed retail establishments directly to individuals in Alabama who are at least 21 years of age for their personal use (Amended in House Judiciary Committee).
Significant Senate committee action this week:
SB62 by Sen. Elliott To authorize a Class 8 municipality that is not in a county with a Class 2 municipality and that abuts the Gulf of Mexico to establish three entertainment districts within its corporate limits (Substituted in Senate Tourism Committee).
SB70 by Sen. Livingston To provide the same limited and sovereign immunity, and ability to participate in the Educators Liability Trust Fund, to the Board of Trustees of the Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering and the administrative staff, teachers, and employees of the school (Senate Judiciary Committee)
SB111 by Sen. Butler To allow the sales of land for taxes to occur on the premises of or within the courthouse or courthouse annex of a county (Senate Governmental Affairs Committee).
SB119 by Sen. Waggoner To revise the municipal election dates in certain municipalities beginning in 2025 (Senate Governmental Affairs Committee).
SB175 by Sen. Smitherman To further provide for the requirements for establishing, amending, expanding and terminating self-help business districts established by a Class 1 (Birmingham) municipality (Senate Governmental Affairs Committee).
SB195 by Sen. Givhan To revise the administrative suspension periods for certain driving offenses (Senate Judiciary Committee)
Significant introductions in the House this week:
HB440 by Rep. Fincher To terminate the use of the Common Core Standards, also known as the Alabama College and Career Ready Standards, in K-12 schools.
HB442 by Rep. M. Moore To phase out the state sales and use taxes on food by reducing the rates by 1% over a four year reduction schedule beginning October 1, 2021.
HB448 by Rep. Clarke To provide for the incorporation of an Africatown Community Redevelopment Corporation for the purpose of revitalization of housing, preservation of history, and attraction and development of commerce in the Africatown Historic District.
HB454 by Rep. Kiel To require a clear and conspicuous notice to consumers regarding a free trial period for a product or service and how the subscription or purchasing agreement pricing will change upon the conclusion of that trial period.
Significant introductions in the Senate this week:
SB253 by Sen. Allen A proposed Constitutional Amendment to prohibit the state, its agencies, and its political subdivisions from participating in the enforcement of any federal act, law, order, rule, or regulation relating to firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition.
SB267 by Sen. Orr To repeal the law authorizing municipalities to adopt ordinances to compel vaccinations; to provide exemptions from the mandatory immunization for individuals who oppose immunization based on religious beliefs or otherwise sincerely held personal beliefs, and others.
SB274 by Sen. Singleton To establish the COVID-19 Recovery Capital Protection Act of 2021, to increase the amount of various types of compensation that may be exempted.
On the lighter side
The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would designate the sweet potato as the official state vegetable of Alabama. If enacted, the sweet potato will join the Largemouth Bass (State Fresh Water Fish), Monarch Butterfly (State Insect), and Southern Longleaf Pine (State Tree), among others, as an official symbol of the State of Alabama (SB171 by Senator Garlan Gudger).