The Alabama Legislature began its annual Regular Session on Tuesday, January 11. As the annual Session is limited by law to 30 session days within a 105 calendar day period, the Session must conclude by April 25, 2022. Generally, the Legislature meets in Session on Tuesdays and Thursdays with Committee Meetings held chiefly on Wednesday.
The Legislature will return to Montgomery on Tuesday, January 18 for Day 3 of the Session with the House convening at 2:00 p.m. and the Senate convening at 3:30 p.m.
DURING THE WEEK
Governor Ivey gave her annual State of the State address on Tuesday evening. She outlined the priorities of the administration for this Session and indicated that her proposed budget would include a 4 percent pay raise for state employees and teachers, a bonus for state retirees, implementation of the Alabama Literacy Act which has been disrupted due to COVID-19, and funds to add two mental healthcare crisis centers.
Also of importance to the administration is the allocation of the remaining $580 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), indicating that her proposals would be funding for broadband, water and sewer infrastructure projects, hospital, nursing home reimbursement, and the unemployment insurance trust fund. [The State received an appropriation of about $2.1 billion in ARPA money. $400 million has already been allocated for 2 new prisons. Approximately $580 million remains from the original disbursement with the remainder to be received by Alabama later in the year.]
While there were several Committee Meetings held during the week and budget presentations to the Legislators from several agencies, the main discussions and meetings this week centered around the expenditure of the ARPA monies. It is expected that the Governor will call a Special Session to be held within this Regular Session on those expenditures. Although there has been no bill introduced or certainty as to the expenditures, the proposals being viewed at present include:
Hospitals and nursing homes (COVID-19 care reimbursement) $ 80 million
Broadband $ 34 million
Healthcare (including mental health and veterans homes) $ 36 million
Telemedicine $ 5 million
Rural Hospital Assistance Grants $ 30 million
County reimbursement for inmate care $ 11 million
Volunteer Fire Departments $ 20 million
Broadband Infrastructure $ 51 million
Water/Sewer Emergency Projects $120 million
Water/Sewer Matching Grants $105 million
Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund $ 79 million
The General Fund Budget legislation was introduced in the House (HB113 by Rep. Clouse) proposing to allocate $2.7 billion in fiscal year 2023 (October 1, 2022 – September 30, 2023) up from $2.4 billion appropriated for the current fiscal year’s budget. The Education Fund Budget was also introduced in the House (HB135 by Rep. Garrett) proposing to allocate $8.2 billion, an increase of the current year’s $7.6 billion.
In other happenings, members of the Coastal Alabama Partnership Organization held a Legislative reception after a day of programs which included presentations from the Governor, Lt. Governor, Commissioner of Conservation and Natural Resources, ALDOT, and the Chair of the Senate Finance and Taxation Committee.
SIGNIFICANT INTRODUCTIONS THIS WEEK
HB1 by Rep. Rafferty: To provide workplace protections against pregnancy discrimination and related medical conditions.
HB2 by Rep. Treadaway: To create the Anti-Aggravated Riot Act; to create the crimes of assault against a first responder, to provide for a mandatory period of incarceration for the crimes of riot and inciting a riot, to create the crime of aggravated riot, and to create the crime of unlawful traffic interference.
HB6 by Rep. Stringer: To authorize individuals to carry a pistol or other firearm concealed or in a vehicle without a permit.
HB7 by Rep. Hanes: To create the Alabama Second Amendment Preservation Act to protect the right to keep and bear arms.
HB8 by Rep. Pringle: To prohibit public K-12 schools and public institutions of higher education from teaching certain concepts regarding race or sex, such as Critical Race Theory.
HB9 by Rep. Oliver: To prohibit the state, its political subdivisions, agencies and contractors from teaching certain concepts regarding race or sex in its training of employees or personnel.
HB11 by Rep. Crawford: To prohibit public K-12 schools and public institutions of higher education from teaching certain concepts regarding race or sex, such as Critical Race Theory.
HB13 by Rep. Lipscomb: To prohibit the state and its agencies and political subdivisions from participating in the enforcement of any federal act, law, order, rule, or regulation relating to firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition, and would provide criminal penalties for a violation.
HB14 by Rep. P. Moore: To prohibit the state and its agencies and political subdivisions from participating in the enforcement of any federal act, law, order, rule, or regulation relating to firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition, and would provide criminal penalties for a violation.
HB16 by Rep. Hanes: To provide a private right of actions against an employer for any adverse reaction of an employee arising from an employer mandate that the employee receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
HB18 by Rep. C. Brown: To enable the parent or guardian of a student at a public K-12 school to opt out of any requirement that the student wear a face covering at the school, at a school function, on a school bus or at a school bus stop.
HB19 by Rep. C. Brown: To require consent of a parent or guardian for any minor to receive a vaccination.
HB20 by Rep. Lee: To extend the existing sales and use tax exemption on parts, components, and systems used in the refurbishing of aircraft.
HB23 by Rep. Kiel: To prohibit a physician from performing an abortion if a fetal heartbeat has been detected, and provide a private cause of action against anyone who performs an abortion.
HB24 by Rep. K. Brown: To prohibit the use of a cell phone while driving.
HB25 by Rep. C. Brown: To authorize volunteer fire departments to expend department funds for equipping a fire station, supplies for the delivery of fire protections services and training, and to reimburse a firefighter for mileage to and from a fire call.
HB29 by Rep. Hanes: To provide a private right of action against an employer for certain injuries or death resulting from an employer-mandated COVID-19 vaccination, and to prohibit the state from recognizing certain federal vaccine mandates.
HB30 by Rep. Hanes: To establish the “My Child, My Choice Vaccination Act” to provide an exemption from mandatory vaccination or testing for schoolchildren of parents or guardians who sincerely hold personal beliefs conflicting with immunization or testing.
HB31 by Rep. Whorton: To prohibit employers, places of public accommodation, and occupational licensing boards from discriminating against an individual based on immunization status.
HB32 by Rep. Sells: To prohibit an employer from requiring an employee to receive a COVID-19 vaccination when the employee objects for any reason of personal conscience, religious belief, or for medical reasons.
HB40 by Rep. C. Brown: To exempt from the crime of possession of a gambling device, under certain limited circumstances, slot machines manufactured before 1960.
HB41 by Rep. Allen: To prohibit certain public officials responsible for the conduct of an election, or their employees, from soliciting, accepting, using or disposing of certain donations from an individual or non-governmental entity for the purpose of funding certain election related expenses.
HB43 by Rep. Sells: To require certain manufacturers of Internet-enabled devices to install filtering software to restrict access to certain material.
HB44 by Rep. Sorrell: To eliminate the requirement for a person to obtain a concealed carry permit in order to carry a pistol on certain property or in a motor vehicle.
HB49 by Rep. Hollis: To prohibit the smoking of tobacco products or vaping in motor vehicles when a child aged 14 or under is in the vehicle.
HB50 by Rep. Hollis: To require local boards of education to provide feminine hygiene products in women’s bathrooms of certain schools at no cost to students.
HB66 by Rep. Stringer: To eliminate the requirement for a person to obtain a concealed carry permit in order to carry a pistol on certain property or in a motor vehicle.
HB67 by Rep. Simpson: To provide that a law enforcement officer or firefighter employed by a county, municipality, or fire district who is diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder would be reimbursed for certain co-payments for treatment, and to require counties, municipalities, and fire districts to maintain certain disability insurance coverage for individuals who are unable to return to work as a result of post traumatic stress disorder.
HB71 by Rep. Oliver: To authorize the establishment of entertainment districts within certain community development districts.
HB72 by Rep. Howard: A proposed Constitutional Amendment to establish an Alabama Lottery, Lottery Trust Fund, and Alabama Lottery Commission.
HB73 by Rep. Howard: To provide for the powers and duties of the Alabama Lottery Commission established in HB72, and to provide for the use of lottery proceeds.
HB74 by Rep. Baker: To prohibit the solicitation, receipt, or use of private funding to administer an election except in certain circumstances.
HB76 by Rep. South: To repeal Act 2021-227 which allowed student athletes to receive compensation for use of his or her name, image, or likeness.
HB103 by Rep. Clarke: To provide a process for early voting in certain elections, to prescribe the number, location, and hours of operation of early voting centers, and to authorize electors to cast a vote, without excuse, by voting machine at an early voting center.
HB111 by Rep. Ingram: To create the Police Funding Protection Act; to prohibit the reduction of the operating budget of local law enforcement agencies by more than 20 percent in a 10 year period.
HB118 by Rep. Wingo: To prohibit the public funding or subsidization of abortion activities, to prohibit government entities from allowing their property or facilities to be used for abortion activities, and to prohibit government-owned healthcare facilities from contracting with healthcare providers for abortion services.
HB119 by Rep. Isbell: To allow a retailer licensed to sell beer or wine for off-premises consumption to use a drive-through or walk-up window for the purchase of beer and wine.
HB121 by Rep. Garrett: To authorize the investment of municipal and county funds into commercial paper with the highest credit rating at the time of purchase, and prohibit the investment of those funds into closed-end management type investment companies.
HB125 by Rep. Sorrell: To prohibit any public official or public employee from expending public funds to advocate in favor of or against statewide and local ballot measures.
HB129 by Rep. Sorrell: To prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies from establishing traffic citation quotas, and to prohibit state and local law agencies from providing incentives or rewards to law enforcement officers for issuing traffic citations.
HB136 by Rep. Garrett To provide for a 4 percent pay increase for certain education employees for the fiscal year 2022-2023.
SB1 by Sen. Allen: To authorize individuals to carry a pistol or other firearm concealed or in a vehicle without a permit.
SB2 by Sen. Allen: To create the Alabama Second Amendment Preservation Act to protect the right to keep and bear arms.
SB3 by Sen. Shelnutt: To create the Anti-Aggravated Riot Act; to create the crimes of assault against a first responder, to provide for a mandatory period of incarceration for the crimes of riot and inciting a riot, to create the crime of aggravated riot, and to create the crime of unlawful traffic interference.
SB5 by Sen. Shelnutt: To prohibit the performance of a medical procedure on, or the prescription or issuance of medication to, a minor child that is intended to alter the child’s gender or delay puberty.
SB7 by Sen. Barfoot: To prohibit the state, its political subdivisions, agencies and contractors from teaching certain concepts regarding race or sex in its training of employees or personnel.
SB8 by Sen. Allen: A proposed Constitutional Amendment to provide prohibitions on the use of certain public resources and personnel to enforce certain federal executive orders relating to firearms, firearm accessories, and ammunition.
SB9 by Sen. Elliott: To provide for the expenditure of funds received by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for coastal conservation, restoration and protections pursuant to the “Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006 (GOMESA).”
SB10 by Sen. Orr: To prohibit certain service providers from taking certain restrictive or suppressive actions against their users based on type and content of speech expressed on their platforms.
SB12 by Sen. Melson: To eliminate the requirement for a person to obtain a concealed carry permit in order to carry a pistol on certain property or in a motor vehicle.
SB14 by Sen. Melson: To restrict ownership of agricultural land to U. S. citizens and resident aliens only.
SB22 by Sen. Price: To provide that a retail table wine licensee may dispense wine for off-premises consumption in containers approved by the board.
SB38 by Sen. Jones: A proposed Constitutional Amendment to merge the Office of State Auditor into the Office of State Treasurer upon the expiration of the term of office of the State Auditor in January 2031.
SB42 by Sen. Elliott: To provide that a homeowner’s association or condominium association may not prohibit the displaying of the flag of the State of Alabama on residential property within the association.
SB43 by Sen. Jones: A proposed Constitutional Amendment to exempt sales of food from state sales and use taxes.
SB44 by Sen. Jones: To phase out any occupational license tax levied by a municipality based on an annual reduction in the percent of the tax until the tax would be repealed, to provide that any occupational license tax levied by any municipality would not apply to any person performing an occupation in the police jurisdiction of the municipality or on any property annexed into the municipality after January 1, 2021, and prohibit any municipality from levying a new occupational license tax or increasing any existing occupational license tax.
SB46 by Sen. Chambliss: To prohibit the use of electronic vote counting systems that are capable of connection to the Internet or cell phone networks, or that possess modem technology.
SB47 by Sen. Chambliss: To require any approved electronic vote counting system used in an election to require the suse of paper ballots.
SB49 by Sen. Smitherman: To require law enforcement officers to undergo mental health evaluations.
SB53 by Sen. Allen: To provide criminal penalties against a person who mars, marks, defaces, or damages a monument located on public property.
SB55 by Sen. Allen: To require a governmental entity that replaces a memorial building to maintain the original name or erect a mark memorializing the name, provide that a petition for waiver is deemed denied if the Committee on Alabama Monument Protection fails to act within 90 days, revise the penalties for violations, and require the Alabama Historical Commission to oversee the design and construction of a statue of civil rights leader John Lewis at the entrance to the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
SB55 by Sen. Allen: To repeal Act 2021-227 which allowed student athletes to receive compensation for use of his or her name, image, or likeness.
SB56 by Sen. Orr: To prohibit state or local law enforcement agencies from using artificial intelligence or facial recognition services to engage in ongoing surveillance, and prohibit the results of artificial intelligence or a facial recognition service from being the sole basis for making an arrest or for establishing probable cause.
SB57 by Sen. Orr: To establish sunset dates for tax incentive programs, to establish future sunset dates for extended taxincentive programs, and to provide required guidelines for all new incentive legislation.
SB64 by Sen. Chambliss: To authorize the establishment of entertainment districts within certain community development districts.
SB77 by Sen. Givhan: To prohibit any state agency or institution from purchasing a U. S. Flag or Alabama flag that was not manufactured in the U.S.
SB83 by Sen. Melson: To create the Alabama Airport Economic and Infrastructure Program, to fund and pay debt for improvements to general aviation airports and commercial service airports, and to fund efforts to grow and expand commercial air service in Alabama.