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Legislature

Alabama 2024 Legislative Report: Week Five

The Legislature will be on a scheduled break this week but return March 19.

The Alabama Statehouse in Montgomery.
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The Alabama Legislature met for days 13, 14, and 15 in the fifth week of the 2024 Regular Session. 28 committee meetings were held throughout the week. The Legislature will be on a scheduled break next week but will return to begin its 16th legislative day (out of 30) on Tuesday, March 19, 2024 with the House convening at 1:00 p.m. and the Senate at 2 p.m.

DURING THE WEEK 

The Senate substituted, amended, and ultimately passed, new versions of HB151 and HB152 by Chris Blackshear that addresses gaming in Alabama. The Senate removed casino gaming and sports betting from the House versions, leaving only a lottery and a state compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. The Constitutional Amendment would need to be approved by voters in a special election on September 10 for the bills to be effective. The bills now return to the House for action on the Senate changes. 

Governor Ivey signed SB159 by Senator Tim Melson providing certain immunity from criminal and civil liability for in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics, patients, providing certain immunity for providers of goods and transport of products used for the procedure, and certain retroactive effect. (Act No. 2024-20). 

Governor Ivey signed HB129 by Representative Danny Garrett, commonly referred to as the CHOOSE (Creating Hope and Opportunity for Our Students Education) Act, 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 (Act No. 2024-21). 

The House amended and passed SB129 by Senator Will Barfoot that prohibits certain public entities from maintaining diversity, equity, and inclusion officers, from sponsoring diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs, and the promotion, endorsement, and affirmation of certain divisive concepts in certain public settings, and requires public institutions of higher education to designate restrooms on the basis of biological sex. The bill now returns to the Senate for action on the House amendments. 

The House also amended and passed SB1 by Senator Garlan Gudger which prohibits any person from ordering, requesting, collecting, prefilling, obtaining, or delivering an absentee ballot application or absentee ballot of a voter in certain circumstances. The bill now returns to the Senate for action on the House amendments. 

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The Senate Confirmations Committee recommended full Senate approval of several board and commission appointees including Melissa Morrissette, John Knight and Alan C. Spencer to the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board, Scott Stadthagan to the University of West Alabama Board of Trustees, and Gabrielle Simmons to the Board of Pardons and Paroles. 

NOTABLE FLOOR ACTION THIS WEEK 

HOUSE FLOOR 

HB194 by Rep. Pettus: To provide that purchases made by volunteer fire departments and rescue squads are excepted from the requirements of the state procurement code and are instead subject to the local competitive bid law requirements. 

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 (As amended). 

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 (As substituted and amended). 

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 (As amended). 

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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 (As amended). 

SB129 by Sen. Barfoot: To prohibit certain public entities from maintaining diversity, equity, and inclusion officers and from sponsoring diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs, to prohibit the promotion, endorsement, and affirmation of certain divisive concepts in certain public settings, and to require public institutions of higher education to designate restrooms on the basis of biological sex (As substituted and amended). 

SENATE FLOOR 

HB151 by Rep. Blackshear: A proposed Constitutional Amendment to authorize an official state lottery, and provide for a state compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians (As substituted and amended). 

HB152 by Rep. Blackshear: To establish the Alabama Gaming Commission, provide for the creation and operation of a state lottery, provide for the distribution of the various fees and taxes collected, and establish a state compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians (as substituted and amended). 

SB31 by Sen. Waggoner: To define the purpose of the Distressed Institutions of Higher Education Revolving Loan Program, change the administrator of the program to the Alabama Commission on Higher Education, more specifically define eligible institutions to which loans shall be made, and establish certain terms and conditions of loans to eligible institutions (As amended and substituted). 

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 (As amended). 

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NOTABLE COMMITTEE ACTION THIS WEEK 

HOUSE COMMITTEES 

HB8 by Rep. Brown: To require insurers to provide at least 90 days written notice of a property insurance policy cancellation, nonrenewal, or coverage restriction (Amended in House Insurance Committee). 

HB73 by Phillip Pettus: To provide for a cap on real property tax assessments under certain conditions (Substituted in House Ways and Means General Fund Committee). 

HB130 by Rep. Butler: To prohibit classroom instruction related to gender identity or sexual orientation in public K-12 schools (Public Hearing but no vote in House Education Policy Committee). 

HB167 by Rep. Sells: To require manufacturers of certain Internet-enabled devices, manufactured on or after January 1, 2025, to contain a filter that is activated if the user is a minor, and only allow a user with a password to deactivate or reactivate the filter (House Commerce and Small Business Committee). 

HB172 by Rep. Chestnut: To provide that the distribution of materially deceptive media intended to influence an upcoming election is a crime, and authorize certain parties to seek permanent injunctive relief against a person who distributes materially deceptive media with the intent to influence an upcoming election (Amended in House Judiciary Committee). 

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HB195 by Rep. DuBose: To require that any sex education or human reproductive curriculum or program in a public K-12 school exclusively teach sexual risk avoidance and encourage the avoidance of any nonmarital sexual activity, prohibit any sex education or human reproductive curriculum or program from supporting, demonstrating, or providing a referral to or information about how to acquire an abortion, from demonstrating the use of or providing distribution information regarding contraceptives, and from using graphic materials that are sexually explicit, normalize teenage sexual activity, or promote or encourage nonmarital sexual activity, and would provide each parent or guardian with the ability to opt his or her child out of the curriculum or program (Public Hearing but no vote in House Education Policy Committee). 

HB215 by Rep. Fidler: To provide that the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources may permit a residential coastal riparian owner to dredge sediment from within their riparian area for the construction of a living shoreline (Amended in House Ports, Waterways and Intermodal Transit Committee). 

HB220 by Rep. Ellis: To establish the Alabama Tourism Tax Protection Act of 2024, to provide that an accommodations intermediary shall collect the tax imposed on the charge for such room, rooms, lodgings, or accommodations, including the charge for use or rental of personal property and services furnished in such room (Substituted in House Ways and Means General Fund Committee). 

HB226 by Rep. Almond: To further provide for the procedures for an aggrieved party to file an appeal of the final decision of a municipal zoning board of adjustment in the circuit court, require a notice of appeal to be filed within 15 days after the final decision to the board and for an appeal to circuit court to be filed within 30 days after the final decision of the board, and provide for the decision of the board to remain in effect during an appeal, unless the circuit court grants a stay (Amended in House Judiciary Committee). 

HB227 by Rep. Simpson: To revise the crime of bribery, add a new crime of using publi 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 (Substituted in House Ethics and Campaign Finance Committee). 

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 (Amended in 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 (House Financial Services Committee). 

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HB236 by Rep. Rafferty: To exempt the purchase of certain baby supplies, baby formula, maternity clothing, and menstrual hygiene products for personal use from the state portion of sales and use tax, and to authorize counties and municipalities to adopt exemptions for these items (Amended in House Ways and Means Education Committee). 

HB275 by Rep. Almond: To further provide for the membership of voluntary indigent defense advisory boards, the board’s review process, and 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 (Amended in House Ways and Means General Fund Committee). 

SB23 by Sen. Williams: To prohibit the manufacture, sale, or distribution of meat made from cultured animal cells (Amended in House Health Committee). 

SB83 by Sen. Smitherman: To further provide for the membership of voluntary indigent defense advisory boards, the board’s review process, and 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 amended in House Ways and Means General Fund Committee). 

SENATE COMMITTEES 

HB10 by Rep. Pringle: To provide that when a person sells or otherwise distributes a controlled substance containing fentanyl, or any mixture containing fentanyl, in violation of the law and death results from the use of the controlled substance, the person is guilty of manslaughter (Senate Judiciary Committee). 

HB42 by Rep. Givens: To provide that if the victim of human trafficking is a minor, the defendant shall be sentenced to a minimum of life imprisonment (Amended in Senate Judiciary Committee). 

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HB121 by Rep. Carns: To provide that a supervisor may not take any adverse employment action against a county or municipal employee who reports a violation of law or rule to a public body (Senate County and Municipal Government 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 (Substituted in Senate State Governmental Affairs Committee). 

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 (Senate County and Municipal Government Committee). 

NOTABLE INTRODUCTIONS 

HOUSE 

HB279 by Rep. Daniels: To provide that individuals have the right to use contraception, health care providers have the right to dispense contraceptive devices, and to prohibit the state and political subdivisions from enforcing any law that would interfere with the distribution and use of contraceptives (Assigned to House Judiciary). 

HB282 by Rep. Shirey: To exempt the gross proceeds from the sale of optical aids, including eyeglasses and contact lenses, from state sales and use tax (Assigned to House Ways and Means Education Committee). 

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HB286 by Rep. Faulkner: To exempt Junior Achievement of Alabama, Inc. from all state, county and municipal ad valorem taxes, and sales and use taxes (Assigned to House Ways and Means Education Committee). 

HB287 by Rep. Hassell: To establish a separate personnel merit system and a separate human resources department for Montgomery County and the City of Montgomery, provide for separate personnel appeals boards for each separate personnel merit system, and to provide for the transfer of existing employees to the appropriate system (Assigned to House Montgomery County Legislation Committee). 

HB288 by Rep. Hassell: To provide that certain municipal employees in municipalities in Montgomery County with a population of 5,000 or more are members of the exempt service of the municipality (Assigned to House Montgomery County Legislation Committee). 

HB292 by Rep. Sells: To require each day care center to install and maintain video cameras in each area of the center occupied by children, with some exceptions, and provide that recordings of day care centers remain confidential and not be viewed, except by certain individuals following an incident of alleged abuse, neglect, harassment, or other inappropriate behavior (Assigned to House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee). 

HB303 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 limts of the municipality (Assigned to House County and Municipal Government Committee). 

HB309 by Rep. Shaver: To provide certain state employees with eight weeks of paid parental leave following the birth or adoption of a child (Assigned to House Ways and Means General Fund Committee). 

SENATE 

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SB193 by Sen. Williams: To provide for the salary and expense allowance of the sheriff of Mobile County (Assigned to Senate Mobile County Legislation Committee). 

SB198 by Sen. Albritton: To authorize the county commission of a county to set the salary of the county sheriff prior to the next term of office (Assigned to Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee). 

SB212 by Sen. Williams: 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 Senate County and Municipal Government Committee). 

SB214 by Sen. Hovey: To provide compensation to the survivors of a volunteer firefighter who dies of work-related cancer by making them eligible for the death benefit awarded by the State Board of Adjustment for first responders who die in the line of duty (Assigned to Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee). 

SB218 by Sen. Figures: To provide that the Alabama State Port Authority is a body corporate with the ability to employ non-merit system employees (Senate County and Municipal Government Committee). 

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE 

The House State Government Committee gave a favorable report to HB229 by Representative Ron Bolton to designate Little Bluestem as the official state native grass of Alabama. Little Bluestem is one step closer to joining the Largemouth Bass (Official State Fresh Water Fish), the Wild Turkey (Official Game Bird), Star Blue Quartz (Official Gemstone), and the Blackberry (Official Fruit) as an official symbol of Alabama.

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SPONSOR SUBJECT STATUS

HB134: Rep. Reynolds, General Fund Budget Pending in House Ways and Means General Fund Committee.

SB67: Sen. Albritton, General Fund Budget Pending in Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee.

HB144: Rep. Garrett, Education Trust Fund Budget Pending in House Ways and Means Education Committee.

SB75: Sen. Orr, Education Trust Fund Budget Pending in Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee.

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