The Alabama Legislature convened for Day 19 of the Regular Session on Tuesday, March 8, and also met in session on Wednesday and Thursday for Days 20 and 21. Committee meetings were held throughout the week.
The Legislature will return for Day 22 of the Regular Session on Tuesday, March 15 with the House convening at 1:00 p.m. and the Senate at 2 p.m.
During the week
The House substituted, amended, and passed the $8.125 billion Education Budget for fiscal year 2023 (October 1, 2022 to September 30, 2023) which increases education funding by over $500 million from the current year’s budget. The bill includes a 4 percent pay raise for education employees and a one-time bonus for education retirees. The bill also includes increases for the Alabama Reading Initiative, the Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative, the pre-K program, workforce development, classroom supplies, and provides funding for reading coaches and the hiring of technology coordinators (HB135 by Representative Danny Garrett).
The House did not concur in the Senate amendments to HB272 by Rep. Shane Stringer which authorizes individuals to carry a firearm concealed at certain locations or in a vehicle without a permit. The bill was assigned to a conference committee consisting of three members of each house to resolve the conflicts between the House and the Senate. After a Conference Committee Report was adopted, the bill was sent to Governor Ivey who signed the bill (Act No. 2022-133).
The Senate Tourism Committee held a public hearing on the two bills (SB293 and SB294) by Senator Greg Albritton providing for a Constitutional Amendment and enabling legislation for a state lottery and casino authorization and regulation. After hearing from proponents and opponents, the committee voted to give both bills a favorable report.
Significant introductions this week
HB457 by Rep. Hanes: To prohibit the State Department of Education, public K-12 school officials, teachers, school counselors, or any private or public organization affiliated with Alabama public K-12 schools from implementing or maintaining any program that uses American School Counselor Association National Standards and competency indicators or any variation of these standards designed to direct student’s perception of concepts, values attitudes, and beliefs.
HB458 by Rep. Sorrells: A proposed Constitutional Amendment that would specify that counties and municipalities are exempt from the prohibition against issuing bonds to acquire real estate for economic and industrial development without a vote of the people.
HB460 by Rep. Ingram: To provide for additional criminal offenses that would prohibit a convicted person from owning or possessing a firearm or ammunition.
HB469 by Rep. Brown: To provide options for the City of Semmes and the Town of Dauphin Island regarding hiring and employment.
HB474 by Rep. Robbins: To authorize the Alabama Department of Environmental Management to issue recycle credits to persons using recyclable materials diverted from the solid waste stream in order to produce a new product or an energy source.
HB488 by Rep. Shaver: To provide a COVID-19 death benefit for first responders and authorize the beneficiaries or dependents of deceased emergency medical services personnel to receive the death benefit.
HB489 by Rep. Shaver: To provide for the suspension of a person’s boating license and driver’s license upon a conviction for boating under the influence or operating a motor vehicle under the influence.
SB296 by Sen. Livingston: A proposed Constitutional Amendment that would specify that counties and municipalities are exempt from the prohibition against issuing bonds to acquire real estate for economic and industrial development without a vote of the people.
SB301 by Sen. Barfoot: To provide for additional criminal offenses that would prohibit a convicted person from owning or possessing a firearm or ammunition.
SB303 by Sen. Orr: To change the reporting date requirements of state agencies which administer economic tax incentives, to establish sunset dates for tax incentive programs, and to establish future sunset dates for extended tax incentive programs.
Significant committee action this week
HB114 by Rep. Robertson: To require an individual who is convicted of driving while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance to pay child support for a child of a victim of the offense if the offense leads to the death of a parent or guardian of the child (Public Hearing but no vote in House Judiciary Committee).
HB202 by Rep. Lawrence: To provide a 4 percent cost-of-living increase for state employees for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2022 (House Ways and Means General Fund Committee).
HB404 by Rep. Sells: To provide for a funded longevity bonus in addition to the retirement benefits of certain retirees and beneficiaries of the Employees’ Retirement System (Amended in House Ways and Means General Fund Committee).
HB447 by Rep. Garrett: To prohibit a county health officer, during a state of emergency, from issuing an order or directive that relates to the control of a pandemic or outbreak of a disease unless approved by the State Health Officer (House Health Committee).
SB110 by Sen. Albritton: To provide a 4 percent cost-of-living increase for state employees for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2022 (House Ways and Means General Fund Committee).
SB111 by Sen. Albritton: To provide for a funded longevity bonus in addition to the retirement benefits of certain retirees and beneficiaries of the Employees’ Retirement System (Amended in House Ways and Means General Fund Committee).
SB171 by Sen Orr: To prohibit the use of the Common Core State Standards in public K-12 schools, and to implement steps to improve mathematics proficiency of public school kindergarten to fifth grade students (Substituted in House Education Policy Committee).
SB186 by Sen. Hatcher: To authorize the Alabama Port Authority to build intermodal and multi-modal transfer facilities (House State Government Committee).
SB190 by Sen. McClendon: To require that any legal action contesting the validity of any statewide redistricting plan be heard by a three-judge panel comprised of judges appointed by the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court (House State Government Committee).
HB319 by Rep. Coleman: A proposed Constitutional Amendment to authorize the Code Commissioner, contingent upon the ratification of the Constitution of Alabama of 2022, to renumber and place ratified Constitutional Amendments, based on a logical sequence and the particular subject or topic of the amendment, and to provide for the transfer of existing annotations to any section of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to the section as it is numbered or renumbered in the Constitution of Alabama of 2022 (Senate Governmental Affairs Committee).
SB207 by Sen. Singleton: To prohibit the operation of a vehicle that contains a false or secret compartment, the purpose of which is to conceal, hide, or prevent discovery of a controlled substance, contraband or a person concealed for an unlawful purpose (Substituted in Senate Judiciary Committee).
SB258 by Sen. Williams: To establish alternative methods for the posting of certain notices that are required to be posted in a conspicuous place at the county courthouse, either by posting on a publicly-accessible website maintained by the county or on an electronic display within the courthouse (Amended in Senate Banking and Insurance Committee).
SB259 by Sen. Smitherman: To increase the annual barrel production limit that allows a beer manufacturer to have a financial interest in a brewpub (Public hearing and favorable report from Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee).
SB282 by Sen. Gudger: To provide that only 10 percent of a municipalities budget may come from fines and penalties generated from traffic tickets with excess funds to be distributed to the Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund and the Fair Trial Tax Fund (Public Hearing but no vote in Senate Judiciary Committee).
SB292 by Sen. Barfoot: To prohibit the state and any of its political subdivisions or agencies from promoting or advancing certain concepts regarding race, sex, or religion in certain teaching or training (Amended in Senate Governmental Affairs Committee).
SB293 by Sen. Albritton: A proposed Constitutional Amendment to provide for the limited authorization of gambling in the state to be supervised and regulated by a new Alabama Education Lottery and Gambling Commission (Senate Tourism Committee).
SB294 by Sen. Albritton: To implement the Constitutional amendment proposed by SB293, to provide for the membership and duties of the Alabama Education Lottery and Gambling Commission, to provide for the administration and distribution of funds, and provide for the issuing of various gambling licenses (Amended in Senate Tourism Committee).
Significant floor passage this week
HB94 by Rep. K. Brown: To extend the existence of the Alabama Commission on Tick Borne Illness until September 30, 2025.
HB136 by Rep. Garrett: To provide for a 4 percent pay increase for certain education employees for the fiscal year 2022-2023.
HB143 by Rep. Pettus: To provide that any person convicted of a crime that caused the death of another person would not be eligible for correctional incentive time.
HB194 by Rep. Allen: To prohibit certain public officials responsible for the conduct of an election, or their employees, from soliciting, accepting, or using certain donations from an individual or non-governmental entity for the purpose of funding certain election-related expenses.
HB315 by Rep. Givan: To create the crime of misrepresenting the police jurisdiction of a municipality and establish penalties for violations.
HB391 by Rep. Clouse: To provide for a reduced minimum business privilege tax of $50 for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2022 and to provide a full exemption from the tax on amounts due of $100 or less for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2023.
HB395 by Rep. Lovvorn: To create a new type of alcoholic beverage license that would authorize certain public universities that have a hospitality management program to produce, transfer, and sell alcoholic beverages on the licensed premises of the university in furtherance of its academic program.
HB415 by Rep. Isbell: To prohibit a county from charging a farmer a license or other fee for the sale of farm products produced by the farmer, his or her immediate family or his or her employees.
SB30 by Sen. Singleton: To provide for a funded one-time longevity bonus payment in addition to the retirement benefits of certain retirees and beneficiaries of the Teachers’ Retirement System (Amended in House).
SB83 by Sen. Melson To create the Alabama Airport Economic and Infrastructure Program, to fund and pay debt for improvements to general aviation airports, commercial service airports, and expand commercial air service in Alabama (Amended in House).
SB175 by Sen. Orr: To amend the Education Trust Fund Rolling Reserve Act to allow funds in the Education Trust Fund Advancement and Technology Fund to be used for capital outlay expenses.
SB178 by Sen. Givhan: To authorize the investment of municipal funds and county funds into commercial paper with the highest credit rating at the time of purchase, or banker’s acceptance, and would prohibit the investment of those funds into closed-end management type investment companies.
HB39 by Rep. C. Brown: To authorize the transfer from the Insurance Department Fund to the Strengthen Alabama Homes Fund any amount remaining in the Insurance Department Fund on September 30, 2022, which exceeded 25 percent of the amount appropriated for the Insurance Department Fund, for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2022.
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.
HB105 by Rep. Gaston: To establish a registry for individuals who have been convicted of certain crimes against elders or who are found by the Department of Human Resources to have committed various forms of elder abuse or abuse against adults in need of protective services (Amended in Senate).
HB250 by Rep. Hassell: To authorize the Alabama Port Authority to build intermodal and multi-modal transfer facilities.
SB120 by Sen. Marsh: To provide further for the scope of practice of an optometrist.
SB255 by Sen. Orr: To require certain emergency rules, orders, or directives issued by the State Health Officer be approved by the Governor and a copy filed with the Secretary of State before the rule, order, or other directive has the full force and effect of law.
SB269 by Sen. Waggoner: To authorize the Governor to appoint honorary generals to the Alabama National Guard.
SB281 by Sen. Gudger: To prohibit wake surfing under certain conditions and within a certain distance of any shoreline, dock, pier, boathouse or other structure in the water.
SB290 by Sen. Butler: To provide for a reduced minimum business privilege tax of $50 for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2022, and to provide a full exemption from the business privilege tax on amounts due of $100 or less for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2023.
Significant bills awaiting action by the governor
SB104 by Sen. Givhan: To prohibit a corporation from issuing scrip in bearer form, thereby requiring a corporation to register all issued scrip of fractional stock.
SB124 by Sen. Scofield: To increase the minimum service threshold for high-speed broadband services at or above 100 megabits per second of download speed and 100 megabits per second of upload speed for the broadband accessibility grant program.
SB211 by Sen. Elliott: To provide for the issuance by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) of certificates of title on vessels and to require owners of vessels to obtain a certificate of title.
On the lighter side
The House passed a bill to designate the peanut as the Official State Legume of Alabama (HB350 by Rep. Allen). The peanut is hoping to join the Pecan (Official State Nut), the Monarch Butterfly (Official State Insect), the Blackberry (Official State Fruit), and the Camellia (Official State Flower), among others, as an Official Symbol of the State of Alabama.