Four bills passed during the 2023 Alabama Legislative session received a “pocket veto,” after Governor Kay Ivey failed to sign them by a June 16 deadline.
Bills that reach the governor during the last five calendar days of the session must be signed into law within ten days, or they receive a pocket veto.
Since the Legislature has adjourned sine die and has no opportunity to consider an override, bills that receive a pocket veto are conclusively dead. The following bills were pocket vetoed.
House bills 506 and 508, sponsored by Rep. Tracy Estes, R-Winfield, were part of a three bill package — HB507 was enacted into law and creates certain minimum qualifications to qualify for the office of sheriff — dealing with Marion County. HB508 would have created a fund that document processing fees of $30 charged by the county are paid into. HB506 would have used the fund to give raises to county officials, including the sheriff.
“By raising those fees a little bit with generating additional revenue, we allow the county commission to give raises across the board to county employees who haven’t had one in quite a while,” Estes said. “If you go back and look at what sheriffs are making across Alabama and comparably sized counties, his really could have been raised a lot more than we asked for it.”
According to Estes, the governor’s legal team was concerned over the constitutionality of HB506 and HB508. Because they were introduced late in the legislative session — on May 23 — the governor did not feel there was sufficient time to review the bills.
“Marion County apparently is one of the few counties in the state that does not have a constitutional amendment that just allows lawmakers to do things quite like this so quickly. And so as a constitutional concern, the governor’s legal team just explained to me that they were not opposed to the bill, neither was she, either of the bills, but they would rather have had time, more time, to review,” Estes said. “In the governor’s defense, she and her legal team, as I noted earlier, were simply trying to make sure they stayed within constitutional boundaries.”
Estes intends to introduce the legislation next session, pre-filed to allow time for review.
House bill 411 received a pocket veto for similar reasons: lack of time for the governor’s office to work out concerns. The bill was passed on May 31 and was enrolled June 1.
“There were some technical issues with the bill that were only discovered after the session was over. The Governor’s office assured me that she would not have vetoed the bill if we could have passed the bill earlier in the session,” bill sponsor Rep. Jamie Kiel, R-Russellville, said.
The bill would have increased allowance, salary, and benefits for the Franklin County coroner. Salary would be set to $10,000 per year while allowing uniform increases for all county employees, and expense allowance would be increased from $175 per month to $9,700 per year.
“The Franklin County coroner receives a salary of $300 per year. That is not a typo. Per year. My intent was to give the office a salary that would at least cover the expense of carrying out the duties of the office,” Kiel said.
The bill would also have allowed the appointment of deputy coroners and authorized the Franklin County Commission to appropriate funds for the office. The bill named three previous acts it would have repealed for consistency.
Kiel plans to introduce the bill early next legislative session.
House Bill 449 clarifies the incorporation process of the Macon County Economic Development Authority and allows it to expend funds for loan repayment.
Since local legislation is typically technical and uncontroversial, it often receives limited attention during the legislative session. Both the House and Senate passed HB449, sponsored by Rep. Pebblin W. Warren, D-Tuskegee, without debate.
The legislature also passed Senate Bill 286, sponsored by Sen. Billy Beasley, D-Clayton, a duplicate bill with effectively no difference from Warren’s version. Warren did offer a technical amendment to the bill, and the governor signed Beasley’s version into law.
The Macon County Economic Development Authority is governed by directors from Macon municipalities, the chamber of commerce, the legislative delegation, the board of education, and Tuskegee University. It is tasked to assist current industries and aid development of new industries in Macon County. It has played a role in expanding Hanon Systems, an automotive thermal and energy management company in Shorter with an annual revenue of $11.17 million.