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Legislature

Alabama 2023 Legislative Report: Week Nine

The Alabama Legislature met for days 21, 22 and 23 of its 2023 Legislative Session this past week.

A view of the Alabama Statehouse on South Union Street in Montgomery, Alabama. (STOCK PHOTO)

The Alabama Legislature met for Days 21, 22 and 23 of its 2023 Regular Session this past week. 36 committee meetings were held throughout the week. 

DURING THE WEEK 

The Senate confirmed a number of appointments to universities, community colleges, and boards including Bill Lewis, Willim Graham, Steven Furr, Steven Stokes, Luis Gonzalez and Lenus Perkins to the University of South Alabama Board of Trustees. 

The Legislature held a joint session to present law enforcement officers with the Legislative Medal of Honor. The recipients were: Deputies Brad Johnson (posthumously) and Chris Poole of the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office, State Trooper Charles May, Cpl. Derrick Riego of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Kel Roberts of the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, and SRO Deputy Darrius Black of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. 

NOTABLE FLOOR ACTION THIS WEEK 

HOUSE FLOOR 

HB117 by Rep. Garrett: To increase the exemption for taxable retirement income for individuals who are 65 or older. 

HB208 by Rep. Kiel: To provide a state income tax credit to individuals and businesses that make voluntary cash contributions to an eligible pregnancy center or residential maternity facility (as amended). 

HB293 by Rep. Brown: To expand tax incentives for business and enterprises who increase their cargo volume through Alabama public ports (as amended). 

HB298 by Rep. Sells: To require certain manufacturers of Internet enabled devices to activate existing filters to restrict access to certain material that may be harmful to minors (as amended). 

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HB319 by Rep. Drummond: To revise the definition of “electronic nicotine delivery system” to include substances other than tobacco and prohibit the distribution of tobacco, tobacco products, electronic nicotine delivery systems, e-liquids, and alternative nicotine products through vending machine (as substituted and amended). 

HB339 by Rep. Pringle: To provide that only during the 2024 election cycle, the runoff primary election would be held six weeks after the primary election, instead of the usual 4 weeks, as the 4 week date would place the runoff primary election 2 days after Easter. 

HB375 by Rep. Simpson: To exempt the purchase of gun safes and gun safety devices from sales and use tax. 

HB392 by Rep. Almond: To provide that a person prohibited from possessing a firearm under federal law is prohibited from possessing a firearm under state law and would provide criminal penalties for a violation. 

HB455 by Rep. Standridge: To create the Rural and Community Fire Protection Advisory Committee to support and recommend to the State Forester methods to improve rural and community fire protection in this state (as substituted and amended). 

SB135 by Sen. Elliott: To authorize an employee of a restaurant or hotel that is a restaurant or special retail licensee of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to serve alcoholic beverages under the same specified conditions as an employee of a restaurant licensee, and to further provide for the forms and records of responsible vendor training. 

SB154 by Sen. Barfoot: To provide that an individual’s driver license or driving privilege may be suspended for violating his or her written bond to appear or otherwise failing to appear for an initial court date or for failing to appear in court on two or more occasions when the court appearance is for a post adjudication compliance review of court ordered conditions (as amended). 

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SB166 by Sen. Givhan: To provide that Class 3 municipalities (Huntsville and Montgomery) may establish self-help business improvement districts. 

SENATE FLOOR 

HB4 by Rep. Chestnut: To make it unlawful for certain individuals to require another individual to be implanted with a microchip (as substituted). 

HB24 by Rep. Ingram: To prohibit an individual from loitering on a public roadway or in the right-of-way of a public roadway, and to remove the prohibition of a pedestrian soliciting employment, business, or contributions or distributing articles on a highway. 

HB34 by Rep. Estes: To provide that it is unlawful to discharge a firearm on school property. 

HB40 by Rep. Hill: To revise the compensation for retired justices and judges who are called to active duty, to provide that retired justices and judges receive per diem, mileage, and be provided court-supportive personnel, and to require retired justices and judges to complete a minimum of six housrs of approved continuing legal education. 

HB41 by Rep. Reynolds: To temporarily revise the eligibility requirements for participating in the Employees’ Retirement System or Teachers’ Retirement System and the allowance a retiree of either system may earn for performing duties with an employer participating in the system. 

HB82 by Rep. Pringle: To further provide for the crime of manslaughter for someone who knowingly furnishes a controlled substance which is a proximate cause of death. 

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HB254 by Rep. Clouse: To require the proceeds from future motor fuel taxes levied by a municipality or county be used for road and bridge construction and maintenance with certain exceptions (as substituted and amended). 

HB296 by Rep. P. Moore: To provide that all references to the United States Armed Forces shall include the United States Space Force. 

HB379 by Rep. Stadthagan: To prohibit any country or government identified on any sanctions list of the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control from acquiring real property in the state as of the effective date of the act (as substituted and amended). 

HB352 by Rep. Baker: To provide requirements pertaining to the operation and maintenance of amusement rides and water slides relating to inspections, liability insurance, and operator and patron conduct. 

SB64 by Sen. Singleton: To allow an individual 75 years of age or older to be excused from jury service on the basis or his or her age and, upon the individual’s request, to be permanently exempt from jury service (as amended). 

SB163 by Sen. Williams: To authorize a county, municipality, or governmental entity subject to a countywide civil service system as defined and established by a local law to elect by a majority vote of the governing body of the county, municipality, or governmental entity to be exempt from the countywide civil service system for the recruitment and hiring of all employees (as amended). 

SB223 by Sen. Figures: To include a child witness in the definition of “a physical offense, sexual offense, or violent offense” for the purpose of the Child Physical and Sexual Abuse Victim Protection Act. 

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SB224 by Sen. Figures: To clarify that for the purpose of the crime of transmitting obscene material to a child, a child is a person who is under 16 years of age, and to provide that a violation of incest when the victim is under 16 years of age is a Class A felony (as amended). 

SB261 by Sen. Roberts: To prohibit a governmental entity from entering into a public contract for goods or services with certain companies or businesses that engage in the economic boycott of businesses in certain sectors and industries, that fail to meet or commit to meet certain environmental standards, that fail to meet or commit to meet certain corporate governance criteria, or that fail to facilitate certain activities (as substituted and amended). 

SB281 by Sen. Albritton: To allow former and current chairs of the USS Alabama Battleship Commission to use the USS Alabama Distinctive license plate. 

SB290 by Sen. Givhan: To increase the threshold amount on contracts for public works from $50,000 to $100,000, authorize an additional increase based on increases in the Consumer Price Index, authorize the use of electronic means to provide certain required notices, and authorize the use of electronic sealed bids (as substituted and amended). 

SB299 by Sen. Orr: To establish sunset provisions and reporting guidelines for economic tax incentives (as substituted). 

NOTABLE INTRODUCTIONS THIS WEEK 

HOUSE INTRODUCTIONS 

HB473 by Rep. Givens: To provide for the surrender of an infant to an emergency medical services probider or a hospital, to provide for the surrender of an infant in a baby safety device that meets certain requirements, and to provide for an investigation into whether a surrendered infant is a missing child. 

HB479 by Rep. Garrett: To define “food” and begin reducing the state sales and use tax on September 1, 2023, to require certain growth targets in the Education Trust Fund for future sales tax reductions on food, to establish the sales and use tax rate on food for purposes of county and municipal sales and use taxes as the existing general or retail sales and use tax rate, and to authorized a county or municipality to reduce the sales and use tax rate or exempt food from local sales and use taxes. 

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HB484 by Rep. Faulkner: To authorize the transfer of beer between brewpubs in certain circumstances and to provide further for determining taxes due on beer sales. 

HB487 by Rep. Wilcox: To allow former and current chairs of the USS Alabama Battleship Commission to use the USS Alabama Distinctive license plate. 

HB489 by Rep. Robbins: To require local boards of education to prohibit students from accessing social media platforms through Internet access provided through the schools under the jurisdiction of the local board, and to provide certain students with instruction on social media risks and safety as a required course. 

HB496 by Rep. Daniels: To exempt the purchase of a general aviation aircraft and any machinery or equipment installed on a general aviation aircraft from sales and use tax in certain circumstances. 

SENATE INTRODUCTIONS 

SB328 by Sen. Gudger: To require the Department of Mental Health to develop, administer, and adopt rule relating to Alabama’s Crisis System of Care, to create the Alabama 988 Crisis Care Fund, to provide for the collection and use of a statewide surcharge on certain communication service connections, and to create the 988 Commission to provide oversight to the fund. 

SB339 by Sen. Sessions: To provide for the placement of a uniform system of navigational markers on the waters of this state and require the Alabama State Law Enforcement Agency to provide general oversight and maintenance of permitted navigational markers. 

SB340 by Sen. Singleton: To provide that the postpartum period during which midwives provide primary maternity care is six weeks post delivery, to allow midwives to provide care in freestanding birth centers that are not hospitals, to allow the board to accept grants and gifts under certain circumstances, and to require midwives to administer certain post-birth newborn screening tests. 

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SB342 by Sen. Barfoot: To remove any limitations on a district attorney’s authority to hire personnel based on the residency of any current or potential personnel. 

NOTABLE COMMITTEE ACTION THIS WEEK 

HOUSE COMMITTEES 

HB249 by Rep. Faulkner: To establish certain conditions under which a contractor who performs work on a road, bridge, highway, or street shall be granted civil immunity (Substituted in House Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure Committee). 

HB269 by Rep. Collins: To provide a uniform statewide system of procedural due process protections relating to the suspension and expulsion of public school students for violating the student code of conduct or state law (Public Hearing but no vote in House Education Policy Committee). 

HB301 by Rep. Ingram: To establish a list of criminal offenses deemed felonies dangerous to human life and to provide enhanced criminal penalties for the possession, brandishing, or discharge of a firearm during the commission of a felony dangerous to human life (Substituted and amended in House Judiciary Committee). 

HB466 by Rep. Blackshear: To specify that the definition of gross receipts does not include any excise tax imposed by the federal, state, and local governments when calculating gross receipts for municipal business license taxes (Public Hearing but no vote in House Ways and Means Education Committee). 

SB39 by Sen. Givhan: To create additional Circuit and District judgeships throughout the state over the next 4 fiscal years, and to standardize the compilation of statistical data (House Judiciary Committee). 

SB159 by Sen. Scofield: To establish certain conditions under which a contractor who performs work on a road, bridge, highway, or street shall be granted limited civil immunity (House Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure Committee). 

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SB169 by Sen. Allen: To allow any business paying a municipal business license based on gross receipts to deduct from gross receipts any excise tax on motor fuels imposed by the federal, state, and local governments (Amended in House County and Municipal Government Committee). 

SB192 by Sen. Albritton: To provide that industrial access roads constructed by a public corporation and used for secured entry to an industrial facility shall not constitute a taking of public property (House Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure Committee). 

SB206 by Sen. Chambliss: To establish the crime of retail theft that is committed when a person uses various means to deprive a merchant of all or part of the value of merchandise, including concealing merchandise on his or her person, altering or removing price tags, concealing merchandise in other containers, failing to scan items or otherwise pay for items at self-checkout registers, and other means, with penalties for a violation being contingent upon the aggregate value of the items stolen (House Judiciary Committee). 

SB258 by Rep. Jones: To authorize the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts to conduct a one-time audit of a public corporation organized under Article 9 of Chapter 50 of Title 11, Code of Alabama 1975, providing water service if the department suspects fraud or mismanagement of funds (Substituted in House State Government Committee). 

SB292 by Sen. Roberts: To provide for the Department of Revenue to grant certificates of exemption from sales and use taxes to contractors and subcontractors licensed by the State Licensing Board for General Contractors for the purchase of building materials and construction materials to be use in the construction of a project for an entity that is exempt by law from paying sales and use taxes (House Ways and Means Education Committee). 

SENATE COMMITTEES 

HB248 by Rep. Lipscomb: To prohibit a person from introducing or placing any fish into the waters of the state without a permit issued by the Commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee). 

HB287 by Rep. Stringer: To create the crime of doxing, intentionally electronically publishing personal identifying information of another individual (Senate Judiciary Committee). 

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HB378 by Rep. Brown: To provide potentially responsible parties with limitations of liability with respect to a brownfield site and to provide for the creation of brownfield redevelopment districts (Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee). 

HB405 by Rep. DuBose: The “What is a Woman Act” to define the terms female, male, woman, girl, man, boy, mother, father, equal, and separate, and to provide that an individual born with a medically verifiable diagnosis of “disorder or difference in sex development” be provided legal protections and accommodations afforded under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (Public Hearing but no vote in House Health Committee). 

HB439 by Rep. Faulkner: To allow an allocation of a Growing Alabama tax credit from a parent or a holding company to a subsidiary, both filing part of an Alabama consolidated return, provided the donation is ultimately paid by the subsidiary (Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee). 

SB301 by Sen. Waggoner: To further provide prohibitions against the use of a wireless telecommunications device and would provide additional clarifications and exceptions on the prohibition (Amended in Senate Judiciary Committee). 

SB306 by Sen. Elliott: To provide for a chair of the county commission to be elected countywide in any county in which the county commission is currently composed of four county commissioners and the chair of the county commission is currently rotating among these county commissioners (Senate County and Municipal Government Committee). 

SB313 by Sen. Butler: To require the Department of Economic and Community Affairs to oversee the design, construction, and installation of a replica Saturn 1B Rocket, if the original rocket is beyond restoration or repair, at the most northern I-65 rest stop in the state (Senate State Governmental Affairs Committee). 

SB314 by Sen. Smitherman: To provide potentially responsible parties with limitations of liability with respect to a brownfield site and to provide for the creation of brownfield redevelopment districts (Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee). 

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SB316 by Sen. Figures: To further provide prohibitions on the possession of an electronic nicotine delivery system by individuals under 21 years of age (Amended in Senate Judiciary Committee). 

SB330 by Sen. Roberts: To prohibit governmental agencies from using Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) as payment and from participating in testing the use of CBDC by any Federal Reserve branch (Senate Banking and Insurance Committee). 

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE 

HB421 by Rep. Ingram: The Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee gave a favorable report to a bill, suggested by Trinity School students, that would designate the “Yellowhammer Cookie” as the Official State Cookie. The “Yellowhammer Cookie,” which originated in Montgomery, prominently features peanuts (the Official State Legume) and pecans (the Official State Nut). Other state symbols include the Brown Shrimp as the Official State Crustacean, the Largemouth Bass as the Official State Freshwater Fish, and the Alabama Red-Bellied Turtle as the Official State Reptile. 

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