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Recap: What the Alabama House passed in its second legislative week

Outside of one controversial bill that stalled regarding the use of cell phones while driving, the House remained mostly in sync last week.

The Alabama Statehouse in Montgomery.
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The Alabama House of Representatives remained mostly in unison last week, barring the oft-controversial bill that would make it illegal to use a cell phone while driving.

That bill stalled after two-and-a-half hours of debate, but many other bills received quick passage through the voting body.

Here’s a look back at the bills that passed the House last week:

HB103 by Rep. Alan Baker, R-Brewton allows up to eight weeks of sick leave for education employees attending to an adopted child. The bill passed 105 to 0 despite some criticism for focusing the legislation only on education employees. Baker said the bill is in response to a specific situation in which a teacher was denied sick leave to tend to an adopted child.

HB26 by Rep. David Standridge, R-Hayden increases the number of working days that the Blount County Board of Registrars may meet to a maximum of 207 working days each year. The bill passed 79-0.

HB41 by Rep. Rex Reynolds, R-Huntsville raises the retirement allowance cap that a Teachers’ Retirement System (TPS) or Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) retiree may earn

 from $30,000 to $52,000 until 2025. The bill passed 104-0.

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HB57 by Rep. Paul Lee, R-Dothan: provides a starting pay grade increase for all Alabama circuit clerks from pay grade 84 to 86 beginning in 2025. The bill passed 103-0.

HB66 by Rep. Joe Lovvorn, R-Auburn: removes the time limit for purchasing hazardous duty time for certain firefighters, law enforcement officers, and correctional officers. The bill passed 104-0.

HB68 by Rep. Randall Shedd, R-Fairview provides that Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs employees may be reimbursed for their travel expenses. The bill passed 97-0.

HB91 by Rep. Corley Ellis, R-Columbiana authorizes the City of Columbiana city council to establish and regulate entertainment districts in the city. It passed 12-0.

HB60 by Rep. Corley Ellis, R-Columbiana removes the requirement that insurance producers, independent adjusters, apprentice independent adjusters and title insurance agents complete a pre-licensing course of study. The insurance producers are still required to take the subsequent test, and Ellis said other states that have dropped the pre-licensure course show no impact on pass/fail rates. The bill passed 100-0.

HB3 by Rep. Rolanda Hollis, D-Birmingham would make it illegal to smoke or vape in a motor vehicle when a child 14 years old or younger is present. Hollis said the bill is a step to fight the effects of secondhand smoke. It passed 84-15.

SB113 by Sen. Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman, requires hospitals to adopt visitation policies allowing for one caregiver each day to visit a patient for a minimum of two hours as long as they follow hospital protocol to minimize risk of exposure or spreading infection. The bill passed 100-1 and returns to the Senate for consideration of an amendment that extends the right to clergy.

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HB109 by Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, would make a college and career readiness indicator a graduation requirement. The Alabama State Department of Education has already begun the process of requiring the credit, which Gov. Kay Ivey has pushed as an essential step to preparing Alabama’s children to join the workforce. The bill passed 105-0.

HB115 by Rep. Danny Garrett, R-Trussville, would lower the top rate of the state’s income tax from 5. Percent to 4.95 percent by 2028. The bill passed 105-0.

HB116 by Rep. Danny Garrett, R-Trussville, would eliminate the 2 percent income tax on the first $500 of earned income for an individual and $1,000 for married couples filing jointly. The bill passed 105-0.

Sunset bills (HB192-HB207): Alabama lawmakers in the House spent most of their time Thursday passing a flurry of bills that simply allow multiple government boards to continue operations that were set by law to “sunset” this year. Those boards include the Alabama Board of Massage Therapy, State Licensing Board for General Contractors, Alabama Onsite Wastewater Board, Alabama Real Estate Commission, Alabama Professional Bail Bonding Board, Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy, Alabama State Board of  Licensure for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, Alabama Security Regulatory Board, Alabama Historical Commission, State Board for Registration of Architects, Polygraph Examiners Board, Board of Examiners on Admission to the State Bar, Alabama Construction Recruitment Institute, Alabama Athletic Commission, Alabama Athlete Agents Commission, and Alabama Board of Examiners of Landscape Architects.

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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