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Week in review: House passes through contested education bills

The session started smoothly, but has become more contentious in recent weeks.

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For the second straight week, the Alabama House of Representatives has stalled out on Thursday with Democrats filibustering as Republicans brought forward more controversial bills. The previous Thursday only two bills were passed before the members gaveled out; this week the body passed five bills before leaving the chamber.

Here’s what made it through this past week:

SB222 by Sen. Sam Givhan, R-Huntsville, would allow the Attorney General to redact certain professional service contracts; changes the beginning of the first legislative session after an election, and provides for property acquisition, possibly for a new state house. The bill passed 88-9and goes to Gov. Kay Ivey to be signed into law. 

SB204 by Sen. Givhan codifies laws passed in special sessions in 2021 and 2022, and in the 2022 regular session. The bill passed 100-0.

SB27 by Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence, would allow the board of directors of an agricultural authority to appoint emeritus members to serve as “goodwill ambassadors of the board.” It passed 101-1. 

HB348 by David Faulker, R-Mountain Brook, proposes changes to the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) by adopting the Uniform Commercial Code Amendments (2022). The amendments would create a new UCC article that deals with the transfer of property rights for some digital assets, specifically controllable electronic records and electronic payment rights. The bill passed 100-0.

HB378 by Rep. Chip Brown, R-Hollingers Island, would provide potentially responsible parties with limitations of liability with respect to a brownfield site, or properties which may have the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant. The bill passed 92-0.

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SB228 by Sen. Dan Roberts, R-Mountain Brook, would require real estate buyers who enter a closing contract to make disclosures to homeowners and other interested parties that the buyer intends to find a interested purchaser willing to pay a higher price for the property and charges a fee to the subsequent purchaser. The bill passed 102-0.

HB253 by Rep. Adline Clarke, D-Mobile, would allow the Alabama Historical Commission to aggregate up to $40 million in tax credits each year. The bill passed 102-0.

SB183 by Sen. Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman, would exclude “consideration of a motor carrier’s use of safety improvements, technologies, practices, and driver coaching in determining a motor carrier driver’s classification as an independent contractor or an employee under state law.” The bill passed 101-0.

HB122 by Rep. Debbie Wood, R-Valley, would prohibit discrimination against an individual with a disability in receiving an anatomical gift or organ transplant based on his or her disability. The bill passed 101-0.

HB136 sponsored by Rep. Prince Chestnut, D-Selma, would increase the expense allowance and mileage reimbursement paid to jurors by order or rule. The bill passed 100-0.

HB381 sponsored by Rep. Kelvin Lawrence, D-Hayneville, would provide that a member of a board of directors of a redevelopment authority for any city may be a property owner in the city’s redevelopment district. The bill passed 101-0.

HB137 sponsored by Rep. A.J. McCampbell, D-Linden, would provide an exemption from state, county, and municipal sales and use taxes for the Black Belt Regional Child Advocacy Center in Marengo County. The bill passed 102-0.

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SB167 by Sen. Josh Carnley, R-Enterprise, allows health insurers to communicate electronically. The bill passed 103-0. 

HB220 by Rep. Corley Ellis, R-Columbiana, would increase the number of working days that the Shelby County Board of Registrars may meet each week. The bill passed 103-0. 

SB155 by Sen. April Weaver, R-Alabaster, changes medical residency requirements for postgraduates of unaccredited medical colleges from three years to two. The bill passed 103-0.

HB379 by Rep. Scott Stadthagen, R-Hartselle, would prohibit Chinese citizens, the Chinese government, or Chinese entities from acquiring real property in the state. The bill passed 73-23. 

HB349 by Rep. Danny Garrett, R-Trussville, would further the scope of practice of optometry in the state. The bill passed 78-6. 

HB358 by Rep. Ginny Shaver, R-Leesburg, would establish a boating violation as a criminal offense. The bill passed 97-0 vote. 

HB287 by Rep. Garrett authorizes the State Industrial Development Authority to make site assessment grants and site development grants to certain companies. The bill passed 105-0. 

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HB161 by Rep. Faulkner would authorize the Insurance Department to post notice of hearings for the consideration of matters which would otherwise require separate notices to more than 50 persons on a website maintained by the department. The House approved Senate changes on a 99-1 vote.

HB342 sponsored by Rep. Susan DuBose, R-Hoover, provides additional requirements for programs to alternative teacher preparation programs and teacher certification. The bill passed 83-20.

SB46 by Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, would create a teacher mobility compact across state lines. The bill passed 102-0.

HB334 sponsored by Rep. Garrett would create the Students with Unique Needs (SUN) Education Scholarship Account Act and Program and allow parents to use funds in an education scholarship account to provide an individualized education program for their children. The bill passed 99-0.

HB363 by Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, would make changes to the Alabama School Choice and Student Opportunity Act and change the appointment process for the Alabama Public Charter School Commission, allows the commission to hire staff and requires commissioners to receive annual training. The bill passed 76-25. 

HB315 by Rep. Jerry Starnes, R-Prattville, would expand eligibility for educational benefits to spouses of those who were killed while on active state duty status or whose death results as a result and within three years of an injury sustained while on state active duty status. The bill passed 103-0.

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

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