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Legislature

Alabama 2024 Legislative Report: Week Four

The Legislature will return to begin its 13th legislative day, out of 30, on Tuesday, March 5.

The Alabama Statehouse in Montgomery.
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The Alabama Legislature met for days 10, 11, and 12 in the fourth week of the 2024 Regular Session. 26 committee meetings were held throughout the week. The Legislature will return to begin its 13th legislative day (out of 30) on Tuesday, March 5, 2024 with the House convening at 2 p.m. and the Senate at 4 p.m.

DURING THE WEEK 

Both Houses debated and passed legislation, SB159 by Senator Tim Melson and HB237 by Representative Terri Collins, providing certain immunity from criminal and civil liability for in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics and patients. Both bills will now proceed to the second House. Neither bill addressed whether or not a frozen embryo is a minor child under state law as rendered by a recent decision of the Alabama Supreme Court. 

The House debated and ultimately passed HB129 by Representative Danny Garrett, commonly referred to as the CHOOSE (Creating Hope and Opportunity for Our Students Education) bill, to create Education Saving Accounts which would offer tax credits up to $7,000 per year available to eligible parents to be used for private education, home schooling, or other education purposes, and make an annual appropriation of not less than $100 million from the Education Trust Fund for these accounts. 

The Senate Tourism Committee held a public hearing on HB151, the Constitutional Amendment to allow casino gaming, a lottery and sports betting, and HB152, the legislation to govern casino gaming, the lottery and sports betting if HB151 is approved by the voters. Both bills are sponsored by Representative Chris Blackshear. No vote was taken on either bill and negotiations continue. 

The Mobile Senate Delegation gave a favorable report to two Mobile County bills: SB152 by Senator David Sessions, as substituted, which would provide that the State Pilotage Commission in a Class 2 municipality must approve certain maritime data produced by a foreign state or foreign or domestic company for use in the pilotage of ships in Mobile Bay; and SB163 by Senator Jack Williams which would further provide for the procedure to fill vacancies on the boards of trustees of the firefighting and emergency medical services districts in Mobile County. 

The Senate Confirmations Committee recommended full Senate approval of several board and commission appointees, including Zeke Smith and Carl Jamison to the Port Authority Board of Directors, and Bobby Humphrey to the Surface Mining Commission. 

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NOTABLE FLOOR ACTION THIS WEEK 

HOUSE FLOOR 

HB51 by Rep. Wilcox: To exempt the gross proceeds from the sale of hearing instruments, including hearing aids, from sales and use tax (As substituted). 

HB66 by Rep. Brown: To require food service establishments to notify consumers of the country of origin of seafood products, use the correct common name of seafood products, and notify consumers as to whether fish or shrimp are farm-raised or wild (As substituted and amended). 

HB101 by Rep. Clarke: To include additional items that are considered election expenses which must be reimbursed to counties by the state (As amended). 

HB126 by Rep. Hulsey: To require emergency medical services personnel to undergo annual training on interacting with individuals with sensory needs or invisible disabilities (As substituted and amended). 

HB129 by Rep. Garrett: To create the CHOOSE (Creating Hope and Opportunity for Our Students Education) Act to establish a refundable income tax credit to offset the cost of qualifying educational expenses, to direct the Department of Revenue to establish education savings accounts through which parents can access funds to direct the education of participating students, and to establish program requirements for parents of participating students, education service providers and participating schools (As substituted and amended). 

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HB156 by Rep. Robertson: To exempt a candidate running for a municipal office from filing campaign finance reports unless and until the candidate receives contributions or makes expenditures greater than $1,000 in the aggregate. 

HB237 by Rep. Collins: To provide civil and criminal immunity for death or damage to an embryo to any individual or entity when providing or receiving goods or services related to in vitro fertilization (IVF) (As substituted). 

SENATE FLOOR 

SB59 by Sen. Orr: To require each high school student to receive instruction in his or her health class on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the use of an automated external defibrillator (As amended). 

SB62 by Sen. Orr: To provide for a state sales and use tax exemption for purchases of certain baby supplies, baby formula, maternity clothing, and menstrual hygiene products (As amended). 

SB105 by Sen. Singleton: To include members of any FEMA-certified community emergency response team within the list of persons protected from civil liability for rendering emergency care at the scene of an accident or disaster (As substituted). 

SB159 by Sen. Melson: To provide civil and criminal immunity for death or damage to an embryo to any individual or entity when providing or receiving goods or services related to in vitro fertilization (IVF) (As substituted and amended). 

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NOTABLE COMMITTEE ACTION THIS WEEK 

HOUSE COMMITTEES 

HB65 by Rep. Drummond: To revise the definition of “electronic nicotine delivery system” to include battery powered devices that deliver substances other than tobacco through the inhalation of vapor, to prohibit the distribution through a vending machine, and to require a one-time application fee and an annual permit fee for the distribution of those products (Substituted in  House Judiciary Committee). 

HB73 by Rep. Pettus: To provide for a cap on real property tax assessments under certain conditions (Public Hearing but no vote in House Ways and Means General Fund Committee). 

HB111 by Rep. DuBose: To define man, woman, boy, girl, father, mother, male, female and sex for purposes of state law, to provide policy on the differences between sexes, to provide that state and local public entities may establish separate single-sex spaces or environments in certain circumstances, and require the state or political subdivisions that collect vital statistics related to sex as male or female for certain purposes to identify each individual as either male or female at birth (Amended in House Judiciary Committee). 

HB166 by Rep. Hill: A proposed Constitutional Amendment to authorize the Legislature to set and alter the compensation of county officers and sheriffs by general or local law, and to prohibit the Legislature from altering the compensation of a county officer or sheriff during the term of office (House State Government Committee). 

HB169 by Rep. Woods: To require each public preK-12 school to post the curricula for each class on the website of the school and to permit parents or guardians to examine instructional and supplemental materials used in the classroom upon request (House Education Policy Committee). 

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HB186 by Rep. Pettus: To prohibit political parties from disqualifying an individual from running for office based solely on receipt of contributions from a particular person or political action committee (Assigned to House Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee). 

HB196 by Rep. Ingram: To authorize the Land Commissioner to contract with an online auction company to sell tax-delinquent property in the state’s inventory which has passed the three-year administrative redemption period (Amended in House State Government Committee). 

HB227 by Rep. Simpson: To revise the crime of bribery, add a new crime of using public office for pecuniary gain to the criminal code, repeal and replace the existing code of ethics, revise the duties and powers of the State Ethics Commission, provide a mechanism for the removal of the director of the State Ethics Commission, authorize the commission to impose private warnings, public reprimands, civil penalties, and restitution for violations of the ethics code or Fair Campaign Practices Act, prohibit a state legislator from sponsoring or voting on legislation that could lead to a conflict of interest, and prohibit certain entities seeking to influence official action from giving gifts to certain public servants (Public Hearing but no vote in House Ethics and Campaign Finance Committee). 

SB1 by Sen. Gudger: To prohibit any person from ordering, requesting, collecting, prefilling, obtaining, or delivering an absentee ballot application or absentee ballot of a voter in certain circumstances and to provide for exceptions (House Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee). 

SB23 by Sen. Williams: To prohibit the manufacture, sale, or distribution of meat made from cultured animal cells (Public Hearing but no vote in House Health Committee). 

SB48 by Sen. Reed: To require each public preK-12 school to post the curricula for each class on the website of the school and to permit parents or guardians to examine instructional and supplemental materials used in the classroom upon request (House Education Policy Committee). 

SB77 by Sen. Elliott: To revise the composition of the Board of Trustees of the Department of Archives (Amended in House Boards, Agencies and Commissions Committee). 

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SB83 by Sen. Smitherman: To provide that indigent defense attorneys are compensated based on the level of the original criminal charge, and to revise the total compensation caps for indigent defense attorneys (Substituted in House Judiciary Committee and referred to House Ways and Means General Fund Committee for further consideration). 

SENATE COMMITTEES 

SB2 by Sen. Allen: A proposed Constitutional Amendment to require local boards of education to adopt policies requiring each K-12 public school to broadcast or sanction the performance of the first stanza of The Star Spangled Banner at least once per week during school hours (Senate Education Policy Committee). 

SB4 by Sen. Allen: A proposed Constitutional Amendment to provide that the 9/11 Remembrance Freedom Flag may be displayed on any publicly owned property or premises and that a person who displays an unapproved flag on publicly owned property commits a misdemeanor (Public Hearing and carried over in Senate State Governmental Affairs Committee). 

SB73 by Sen. Williams: To exempt the gross proceeds from the sale of materials purchased to be used as fencing for agricultural livestock purposes from the state’s sales and use tax (Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee). 

SB95 by Sen. Figures: To specify that an individual under 21 years of age commits a violation for the possession of an electronic nicotine delivery system or other electronic battery-powered device capable of producing a vapor upon inhalation, without regard to which particular e-liquid or other substance, if any, was contained or otherwise used in the device (Senate Judiciary Committee). 

SB151 by Sen. Orr: To establish an investment policy for the State Treasurer and the Board of Control of the Retirement Systems of Alabama and the Teachers’ Retirement System of Alabama to prohibit investments and business transactions with any financial institution that prioritizes environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria above or in concert with the traditional fiduciary duty to maximize financial benefit (Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee). 

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SB152 by Sen. Sessions: To provide that the State Pilotage Commission in a Class 2 municipality must approve maritime data for use in the pilotage of ships in Mobile Bay (Substituted in Senate Mobile County Legislation Committee). 

SB163 by Sen. Williams: To further provide for the procedure to fill vacancies on the boards of trustees of the firefighting and emergency medical services districts in Mobile County (Mobile County Legislation Committee). 

NOTABLE INTRODUCTIONS 

HOUSE 

HB230 by Rep. Wilcox: To remove the requirement that corporations authorized to transact business in the state provide an annual report to the Secretary of State (Assigned to House State Government Committee). 

HB233 by Rep. Sorrells: To require every off-road vehicle manufactured on or after January 1, 2026 to receive a certificate of title at the time of purchase, require dealers of off-road vehicles to obtain a master dealer license, and authorize the dealer to issue certificates of title for off-road vehicles (Assigned to House Financial Services Committee). 

HB240 by Rep. Daniels: A proposed Constitutional Amendment to provide that an extrauterine embryo is not an “unborn life” or “unborn child” (Assigned to House Health Committee). 

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HB243 by Rep. Givens: A proposed Constitutional Amendment to authorize and regulate the conduct of certain charitable raffles, traditional paper bingo, and similar charitable games in Baldwin County (Assigned to House Economic Development and Tourism Committee). 

HB245 by Rep. Harrison: A proposed Constitutional Amendment to authorize the Legislature to call itself into a special session (Assigned to House State Government Committee). 

HB253 by Rep. Brown: to provide that the Alabama State Port Authority is a body corporate with the ability to employ non-merit system employees (Assigned to House Ports, Waterways and Intermodal Transit Committee). 

HB257 by Rep. Lovvorn: To create the Alabama Adventure Awaits sales tax holiday, which would occur annually the first weekend in March and the first weekend in August, to exempt certain items from state sales and use tax and allow municipalities and counties to opt-in to the sales tax holiday (Assigned to House Ways and Means General Fund Committee). 

HB259 by Rep. D. Wood: To require the judge of probate of each county to conduct a post election audit after every county and statewide general election to determine the accuracy of the originally reported results of the election (Assigned to House Ways and General Fund Committee). 

HB277 by Rep. Shirey: A proposed Constitutional Amendment to remove any real property owned by the University of Mobile in the corporate limits of any municipality from the corporate limits of the municipality (Assigned to Mobile County Legislation Committee). 

SENATE 

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SB161 by Sen. Beasley: To authorize sheriffs to conduct fundraising events within their respective counties, and to provide for the proceeds of a fundraising event to support the operations of their respective offices (Assigned to Senate County and Municipal Government Committee). 

SB164 by Sen. Price: To provide limitations of liability for certain actions taken by bovines to their owners (Assigned to Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee). 

SB185 by Sen. Singleton: To require a service contract provider to define certain terms used in its contracts, to disclose in a specified manner certain limitations of its obligation to satisfy claims or resolve disputes under the contract, and to disclose these limitations in any marketing and advertising content presented to a prospective customer (Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee). 

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE 

Representative Ron Bolton introduced a bill to designate Little Bluestem as the official state native grass of Alabama. If passed, Little Bluestem will join the Camellia (Official State Flower), the Southern Longleaf Pine (Official State Tree), and the Oak-Leaf Hydrangea (Official State Wildflower) as official symbols of Alabama.

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