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Alabama 2021 Legislative Report: Week six

914 bills have been introduced to date: 563 in the House and 351 in the Senate. 

The Alabama Statehouse in Montgomery.

The Alabama Legislature convened for day 15 of the 30-day Regular Session on Tuesday, March 16. The Legislature met in Session on Tuesday and Thursday with 18 committee meetings held throughout the week. Some 914 bills have been introduced to date: 563 in the House and 351 in the Senate. 

The Legislature will take a scheduled break next week and return to Montgomery on Tuesday, March 30, for day 17 of the session with the House convening at 1 p.m. and the Senate convening at 2 p.m. 

During the week:

The Senate substituted and passed the $7.67 billion Education Budget which includes a 2 percent pay raise for education employees. The Senate also passed supplemental and separate appropriation bills for various colleges, schools and other public entities. 

The Senate confirmed 13 of the Governor’s Boards and Commissions appointments this week, including Alyce Manley Spruell to the Alabama Committee on Monument Protections, Stephanie Armstead, Chris Meggison and Laura Reeder to the State Board of Midwifery, and Sandra Dunaway, Freddy Ard and Walter Body to the Court of the Judiciary. 

Significant floor passage this week:

HB167 by Rep. Blackshear: To prohibit an Alabama voter from voting or attempting to vote in this state and also in another state. 

HB211 by Rep. South: To establish the COVID-19 Recovery Capital Credit Protection Act of 2021, to increase the amount of various types of compensation that may be exempted, and to provide an extension to the employment and wage requirements of the capital credit program and associated penalties. 

HB237 by Rep. Shaver: To require a physician to 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. 

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HB285 by Rep. Allen: To prohibit “curbside voting,” operation of any voting machine except on the inside of an enclosed building designated as a voting place.

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. 

HB411 by Rep. McCampbell: To create a Law Enforcement Officer Employment Database, and require law enforcement agencies to report certain complaints, disciplinary actions, and background information. 

HB445 by Rep. Treadaway: To amend the crimes of riot and inciting to riot, establish the crimes of aggravated riot and unlawful traffic interference, and provide for a mandatory period of incarceration that is not subject to probation or parole. 

SB40 by Sen. Givhan: 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. 

SB11 by Sen. Givhan: 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. 

SB144 by Sen. Singleton: To extend the immunity from criminal and civil liability for the donation of perishable food to include meat from game animals. 

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SB204 by Sen. Williams: To provide further for qualifications of members appointed to the Alabama Professional Bail Bonding Board, to authorize the issuing of apprentice licenses, and require the successful completion of certain education before regular licensure. 

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, and to provide an extension to the employment and wage requirements of the capital credit program and associated penalties. 

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. 

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. 

Significant committee action this week:

HB175 by Rep. Lovvorn: To include computer science teachers in the Alabama Math and Science Teacher Education Program (AMSTEP) which provides student loan repayment for public high school math and science teachers to serve in under-served areas of the state (House Ways and Means Education Committee). 

HB507 by Rep. Garrett: To authorize the county commission to designate additional places or offices where the absentee voting duties are performed, with the dates and time publicized in advance (House Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee). 

HB538 by Rep. Baker: To revise the timeframe to apply to vote by absentee ballot and revise certain procedures relating to the processing of absentee ballots (Amended in House Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee). 

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SB10 by Sen. Shelnutt: 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 Health Committee). 

SB238 by Sen. McClendon: To provide that a qualified voter who is blind or visually impaired, if verified by the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind, may vote by absentee ballot (Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee). 

HB116 by Rep. Standridge: To authorized the Secretary of State to conduct a one-time post-election pilot audit after the November 8, 2022 general election to determine the accuracy of the originally reported outcome of the election (Amended in Senate Governmental Affairs Committee). 

HB130 by Rep. C. Brown: To provide for additional offenses that would require mandatory denial of bail (Senate Judiciary Committee). 

HB131 by Rep. C. Brown: A proposed Constitutional Amendment (Aniah’s Law) that would require reasonable bail in all cases, except for offenses enumerated by the Legislature by general law (Senate Judiciary Committee). 

HB385 by Rep. Hall: To revise the focus of the content, course materials, and instruction provided to public school students in any program or curriculum that includes sex education or the human reproductive process (Senate Education Policy). 

SB305 by Sen. Scofield: To prohibit an Alabama voter from voting or attempting to vote in this state and also in another state (Senate Governmental Affairs Committee) 

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SB309 by Sen. Marsh: To implement the Constitutional Amendment proposed in SB214 providing further for the powers and duties of the Alabama Lottery Corporation, further provide for the Lottery Trust Fund and the use of lottery proceeds for postsecondary scholarships (Senate Tourism Committee). 

SB310 by Sen. Marsh: To implement the Constitutional Amendment proposed in SB214 providing futher for the powers and duties of the Alabama Gaming Commission to supervise the conduct of the Alabama Education Lottery, bingo, charitable bingo and raffles, sports wagering, and casino-style games in the state (Senate Tourism Committee). 

SB311 by Sen. Marsh: To implement the Constitutional Amendment proposed in SB214 to update existing criminal provisions, to further provide for criminal penalties related to unlawful activity associated with casino-style games ad sports wagering, and to prohibit certain campaign contributions other activity by operators of gaming facilities (Senate Tourism Committee. 

SB319 by Sen. McClendon: A proposed Constitutional Amendment to establish a lottery, Lottery Trust Fund, and the Alabama Lottery Commission (substituted in Senate Tourism Committee). 

SB320 by Sen. McClendon: To provide for the powers and duties of the Alabama Lottery Commission, the use of lottery proceeds, and the various state and local taxes on gaming revenue (Substituted in Senate Tourism Committee). 

Significant introductions this week

HB547 by Rep. Pringle: To remove the requirement of cash bail only for certain initial custody arrests, to further define cash bail and property bail, to remove the requirement that a conditional judgment to set aside be made absolute for the entire sum, and to provide further for eligibility for judicial public bail. 

HB548 by Rep. Pringle: To remove the requirement that the chief legal counsel and assistant legal counsel of the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts be deputy attorneys general. 

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HB542 by Rep. P. Moore: To create Regional Zoological Park and Museum Commissions in Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile and Montgomery to support and promote educational and recreational facilities within the surrounding counties, including zoos, museums, and botanical gardens. 

HB551 by Rep. Bedsole: To prohibit the tethering of dogs under certain circumstances, and to provide for tethering requirements, including a shelter when tethering a dog. 

HB555 by Rep. Pettus: To provide an affirmative duty of law enforcement officers to remove a guest illegally present at a recreational vehicle park upon request of the park operator. 

HB556 by Rep. Sells: To require that the proceeds from motor fuel taxes levied by municipalities and counties be used for road and bridge construction and maintenance with certain exceptions. 

SB338 by Senator Reed: To create the Innovate Alabama Matching Grant Program that would provide matching grants to eligible businesses that have received federal Small Business Innovation Research or Small Business Technology Transfer Research grants. 

SB339 by Senator Reed: To create the Alabama Innovation Corporation, and provide for the powers and duties of the corporation. 

SB345 by Sen. Singleton: To establish the Pilot Program for Small Business Development under the Board of Pardons and Paroles.

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On the lighter side:

The Senate passed a bill that would designate the sweet potato as the official state vegetable of Alabama. If enacted, the sweet potato will join the Red Hills Salamander (State Amphibian), the Brown Shrimp (State Crustacean), and the West Indian Manatee (State Marine Mammal), among others, as an official symbol of the State of Alabama (SB171 by Senator Garlan Gudger). 

Significant bills enacted:

SB30 Sen. Orr: To provide civil immunity for business entities, health care providers, educational entities, churches, governmental entities, and cultural institutions operating in this state, as well as individuals associated with these entities, from certain damages claimed by individuals who allege that they contracted or were exposed to Coronavirus during a declared state of emergency. 

SB76 Sen. Orr: To establish a procedure to authorize wireless providers to collocate, mount, or install small wireless facilities on existing poles, or install new poles on the right-of-way of the state or any agency, county, or municipality. 

HJR6 Rep. Clarke: To honor Mr. James K. Lyons for his contributions to the State of Alabama as Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Alabama State Port Authority. 

HJR5 Rep. Lee: To extend the existing sales and use tax exemption on parts, components, and systems used in the refurbishing of aircraft. 

Budgets

HB309 Rep. Clouse: General Fund Budget Passed by House as substituted and amended, pending in Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee.

SB189 Sen. Orr: Education Budget Passed by Senate as substituted and amended, pending in House Ways and Means Education Committee.

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Beth Lyons
Written By

DIG DEEPER

Legislature

The Legislature will return to Montgomery on Tuesday, April 6, for day 19 of the session.

Legislature

The Legislature returned to Montgomery on Tuesday, March 16, for day 15 of the session.

Legislature

This coming week the House will take up the General Fund Budget and the Senate is expected to debate the casino/lottery bill.

Featured Opinion

"I wonder why the Alabama Legislature has to be so mean, so full of hate."