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Legislature

Alabama 2024 Legislative Report: Week Nine

The Legislature will return to begin its 24th legislative day out of 30 on Tuesday.

The Alabama Statehouse in Montgomery, Alabama.
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The Alabama Legislature met for days 22 and 23 in the ninth week of the 2024 Regular Session. 28 committee meetings were held throughout the week. The Legislature will return to begin its 24th legislative day (out of 30) on Tuesday, April 23, 2024 with the House convening at 1 p.m. and the Senate convening at 2 p.m.

DURING THE WEEK 

The Senate appointed Senators Greg Albritton, Garlan Gudger and Bobby Singleton to meet in a Conference Committee with previously appointed Representatives Chris Blackshear, Andy Whitt and Sam Jones to try to work out the differences on HB151 and HB152 by Representative Chris Blackshear which address gaming in Alabama. The House and Senate passed vastly different versions of the bills. The Senate version removed casino gaming and sports betting, leaving only a lottery and an authorization of a compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. The Senate also moved the date for a referendum on the Constitutional Amendment from the November General Election to a September Special Election. The Conference Committee is expected to meet next week to begin negotiations. 

The House passed the $9,348,506,169 Education Trust Fund Budget (HB145 by Representative Danny Garrett) as well as the $651,202,906 supplemental appropriations bill (HB144 by Representative Danny Garrett). The House also passed a 2 percent salary increase for educators and education employees (HB146 by Representative Danny Garrett), and several separate appropriation bills. 

The House passed several of the “Working for Alabama” bills aimed at increasing workforce and economic development. These bills are highlighted in the report. 

NOTABLE FLOOR ACTION THIS WEEK 

HOUSE FLOOR 

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HB87 by Rep. Brown: To authorize an airport authority to form any necessary legal business entity or venture relating to airport operations and conduct any activities required for the operation of the authority (House concurred in Senate amendment; pending action by Governor). 

HB100 by Rep. Clarke: To establish increased penalties for a crime committed against an election official that is motivated by an individual’s role as an election official, and establish that a felony committed against an election official which is motivated by an individual’s role as an election official is a crime of moral turpitude (As substituted and amended). 

HB144 by Rep. Garrett: Supplemental appropriations from the Education Trust Fund ($651,202,906) (As substituted). 

HB145 by Rep. Garrett: Education Trust Fund Budget ($9,348,506,169) (As substituted). 

HB146 by Rep. Garrett: To provide for a 2 percent pay increase for educators and education employees. 

HB257 by Rep. Lovvorn: To create the Alabama Adventure Awaits sales tax holiday, which would occur annually the first weekend in May, to exempt certain items from state sales and use tax and allow municipalities and counties to opt-in to the sales tax holiday. The bill only becomes effective if HB258 below is enacted (As amended). 

HB258 by Rep. England: To levy an additional simplified sellers use tax, and to provide for the distribution of the proceeds (Carried Over to the Call of the Chair). 

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HB335 by Rep. Hill: To provide for the time a public tax lien auction may be held, to further provide for fees, further provide for who may redeem a tax lien that has been auctioned or sold, and would prevent a holder of a tax lien certificate from being criminally or civilly liable for violations in certain circumstances (As amended). 

HB346 by Rep. Almond: To establish the Alabama Workforce Housing Tax Credit Act to authorize and provide a tax credit for qualified taxpayers owning an interest in a qualified workforce housing project located in the State of Alabama (As substituted). 

HB358 by Rep. Daniels: To create the employer tax credit, childcare facility tax credit, and nonprofit childcare provider tax credit to incentivize employers to fund childcare for their employees and to enable childcare providers to offer more readily available, affordable, high-quality childcare (As substituted). 

HB390 by Rep. Crawford: To provide that the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission is primarily responsible for the regulation, licensure, and enforcement of cannabis cultivation. 

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. 

SB247 by Sen. Livingston: To rename the Alabama Department of Labor to the Alabama Department of Workforce, to change the title of the head of the department from Secretary of Labor to Secretary of Workforce, to further provide for the duties and responsibilities of the secretary, to transfer certain state and federal workforce programs, staff, and assets from the Department of Commerce to the department, to establish seven regional workforce boards, add responsibilities to the new Department, and further provide for the responsibilities of the Department of Commerce and the Alabama Industrial Development and Training Institute. 

SB252 by Sen. Reed: To establish the Alabama Workforce Housing Tax Credit Act to authorize and provide a tax credit for qualified taxpayers owning an interest in a qualified workforce housing project located in the State of Alabama (As amended). 

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SB253 by Sen. Chesteen: To establish the Alabama Workforce Pathways Act which would provide different pathways towards earning a high school diploma based on the further workforce or continuing education plans of the student, provide, subject to funding, for the upgrade or additional construction of career and technical education centers throughout the state, and provide, subject to funding, for the Alabama Short-Term Credential Program to provide additional scholarships for the training of individuals through the Alabama Community College System (As amended). 

SENATE FLOOR 

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. 

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. 

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 (As amended). 

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 (As substituted). 

SB164 by Sen. Price: To provide limitations of liability for certain actions taken by bovines to their owners (As substituted). 

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SB193 by Sen. Williams: To provide for the salary and expense allowance of the sheriff of Mobile County. 

SB219 by Sen. Shelnutt: To create the Agriculture Exhibition Center Corporation to operate the Alabama Farm Center, to provide for the composition and operation of the board of directors, to permit certain counties and municipalities to sell property and appropriate public funds to the corporation, permit the corporation to allow the consumption of alcohol on the center’s premises, exempt the corporation and its property from municipal ordinances and rules, to exempt the corporation and its property from certain state, county and municipal taxes, and to provide that the Alabama Farm Center is an economic development organization for the purposes of the Growing Alabama Act (As amended). 

SB224 by Sen. Elliott: To establish the Office of Occupational and Professional Licensing within the Department of Labor to serve as a centralized entity providing leadership, support, and oversight to certain professional or occupational licensing boards operating within the state (Carried Over). 

SB231 by Sen. Orr: To condition an employer’s eligibility for economic development incentives upon the employer refraining from certain practices relating to employee representation by a labor organization (As amended). 

SB246 by Sen. Orr: To clarify that a parent or guardian’s written declaration is sufficient documentation to exempt his or her child from a public K-12 school vaccine requirement for religious reasons, and that, if a public institution of higher education requires students to be vaccinated or tested for a disease, that a student may be exempt for medical reasons or because he or she objects for religious reasons. 

SB260 by Sen. Chambliss: To provide for the time a public tax lien auction may be held, to further provide for fees, further provide for who may redeem a tax lien that has been auctioned or sold, and would prevent a holder of a tax lien certificate from being criminally or civilly liable for violations in certain circumstances (As amended). 

SB268 by Sen. Williams: To provide for the qualifications of the Mobile County Sheriff and require completion of continuing education (As amended). 

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SB270 by Sen. Orr: To establish procedures for requesting and obtaining public records (As substituted). 

SB286 by Sen. Gudger: To require the Secretary of the Department of Commerce to appoint and establish the salary for the Director of the Alabama Film Office. 

SB291 by Sen. Waggoner: To require mayors and members of municipal governing bodies elected on or after January 1, 2025 to participate in and complete a training course, provide for the creation of a training course, and provide for expenses incurred while participating in the training course (As amended). 

SB323 by Sen. Price: To prohibit counties from distributing local tobacco tax proceeds to any entity whose property has been foreclosed upon or has declared bankruptcy (As amended). 

NOTABLE COMMITTEE ACTION THIS WEEK 

HOUSE COMMITTEES 

HB326 by Rep. Kiel: To rename the Alabama Film Office as the Alabama Entertainment Office , allow music albums to be included as qualified productions, set the minimum expenditure threshold for music albums to qualify for incentives, and set aside incentives for music albums until July 1 of each year (House Ways and Means Education Committee). 

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HB365 by Rep. Hill: To require mayors and members of municipal governing bodies elected on or after January 1, 2025 to participate in and satisfactorily complete a training course during each year of their first elected term, provide for the creation of a training course, and provide for expenses incurred while participating in the training course (Assigned to House County and Municipal Government Committee). 

HB405 by Rep. Clarke: To further provide for the powers of a municipal housing authority, and to exempt public housing authorities from all taxes (Carried Over in House Ways and Means General Fund Committee). 

HB406 by Rep. Clarke: To further provide for the powers of a county housing authority, to ratify certain acts of county housing authorities before the effective date of this act, and to exempt county housing authorities from all taxes (Carried Over in House Ways and Means General Fund Committee). 

HB417 by Sen. Crawford: To provide for the creation of the Agriculture Exhibition Center Corporation to operate the Alabama Farm Center, to vest the corporation with certain powers and privileges, to provide for the composition and operation of a board of directors to govern the corporation, to permit certain counties and municipalities to sell property and appropriate public funds to the corporation, to permit the corporation to allow the consumption of alcohol on the center’s premises, to exempt the corporation and its property from municipal ordinances and rules, to exempt the corporation and its property from certain state, county, and municipal taxes, and to provide that the Alabama Farm Center is an economic development organization for the purposes of the Growing Alabama Act (Amended in House Economic Development and Tourism Committee). 

HB423 by Rep. Shirey: To prohibit the use of any ranked-choice voting method in elections except for electors who vote by absentee ballot pursuant to the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (Amended in House Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee). 

HB438 by Rep. Hollis: To define “heated tobacco product” and establish a new levy on these products (Public Hearing but no vote in House Ways and Means General Fund Committee). 

HB448 by Rep. Daniels: To revise deadlines to qualify for a general election to accommodate national political party conventions (House Constitution, Campaign and Elections Committee). 

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SB7 by Sen. Elliott: To authorize certain public entities to contract with a nonpublic K-12 school to provide school resource officers in certain circumstances, and to require public entities to charge the nonpublic school for the full cost of employing any school resource officer (House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee). 

SB9 by Sen. Coleman-Madison: To authorize a Class 1 municipality (Birmingham) to petition for judicial in rem foreclosure of municipal code enforcement and nuisance abatement liens on property that is not owner-occupied, and to recover the amount of unpaid municipal code and nuisance abatement liens and the cost of municipal code enforcement upon the court-ordered sale of property that is not owner-occupied (House County and Municipal Government 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 (House Ways and Means Education Committee). 

SB150 by Sen. Gudger: To provide that an accommodations intermediary shall collect the tax imposed on the charge for rooms, lodgings or accommodations, including the charge for use or rental of personal property and services furnished in a room (House Ways and Meand General Fund 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 (House Mobile County Legislation Committee). 

SB186 by Sen. Orr: To prohibit the use of any ranked-choice voting method in elections except for electors who vote by absentee ballot pursuant to the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (House Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee). 

SB204 by Sen. Sessions: To remove the requirement that corporations authorized to transact business in the state provide an annual report to the Secretary of State (House Commerce and Small Business Committee). 

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SB240 by Sen. Barfoot: To provide for the commitment of respondents who meet the criteria for involuntary commitment to the custody of the Alabama Department of Mental Health to include individuals suffering from a substance use disorder that occurs secondarily to a primary diagnosis of one or more mental illnesses (House Judiciary Committee). 

SB275 by Sen. Melson: To further specify the power of a county agricultural authority to develop commercial facilities and to use the revenue generated to support the authority’s mission (House Economic Development and Tourism Committee). 

SENATE COMMITTEES 

HB54 by Rep. Bedsole: 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 (Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee). 

HB73 by Rep. Pettus: To limit the assessed value of certain real property for ad valorem tax purposes, with exceptions(Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund). 

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 (Senate Judiciary 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 (Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee). 

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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 (Amended in Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee). 

HB294 by Rep. Lee: To provide that the uniform increases in compensation granted to local officials would be included in the base compensation of the local officials (Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee). 

HB330 by Rep. Woods: To require the governing body of each public and private institution of higher education to provide annual reports to the Governor and certain legislators regarding funding received from foreign countries of concern and certain entities and individuals associated with those countries, and to define foreign countries of concern to mean the People’s Republic of China, the Russian Federation, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the State of Qatar, and any other county determined to be a country of concern by the United States Department of State (Amended in Senate Education Policy Committee). 

SB259 by Sen. Singleton: To define a new category of ready to drink mixed liquor beverages containing no more than eight percent alcohol by volume called “mixed spirit beverages, ” and would require all mixed spirit beverages, other than those distributed by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, to be distributed through a licensed wholesaler and sold to licensed retailers in Alabama for on-premises and off-premises consumption (Public Hearing but no vote in Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee). 

SB290 by Sen. Waggoner: To authorize counties and municipalities to establish tourism improvement districts, provide for the renewal and dissolution of tourism improvement districts, and provide for the assessments a tourism improvement district may collect businesses and the activities and improvements a tourism improvement district may carry out (Public Hearing but no vote in Senate Tourism Committee). 

SB317 by Sen. Smitherman: To provide that it is unlawful for a minister, priest, rabbi, bishop or other recognized member of the clergy in a position of trust or authority over a person to commit certain sex acts with an individual 19 years of age, or a protected person under 22 years of age, and provide for penalties (Senate Judiciary Committee). 

SB319 by Sen. Albritton: To provide that a state agency may not execute a settlement agreement for a claim made against the state unless the state agency has sufficient funds available to the state agency to pay the full amount owed under the settlement agreement (Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund). 

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SB324 by Sen. Coleman: To revise deadlines to qualify for a general election to accommodate national political party conventions (Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee). 

NOTABLE INTRODUCTIONS 

HOUSE 

HB459 by Rep. Stadthagen: To condition an employer’s eligibility for economic development incentives upon the employer refraining from certain practices relating to employee representation by a labor organization (Assigned to House Commerce and Small Business Committee). 

HB460 by Rep. Robbins: To prohibit any enumerated agency or other governmental entity statutorily subject to the Alabama Sunset Law of 1981 from holding title to real property, to prohibit further acquisition of real property by certain entities, and to provide exemptions (Assigned to House Boards, Agencies and Commissions Committee). 

HB470 by Rep. Pringle: To require county commissions to redraw voting precincts on a regular basis after redistricting legislation is passed, to require county commissions to submit a procedure on how each county commission intends to redraw voting precincts within certain prescribed parameters, and to require county commissions to redraw voting precincts not later than July 1, 2025, based on the redistricting maps adopted following the 2020 federal census (Assigned to House County and Municipal Government Committee). 

SENATE 

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SB327 by Sen. Elliott: To authorize the articles of incorporation of a Capital Improvement Cooperative District to be amended to add new areas in which the district proposes to acquire a project or projects, authorize the use of funds of the district to pay the construction costs of the new projects, and provide that the rentals, rates, fees, and other charges fixed by the district would be required to be approved by the governing body of the county, municipality, or other public corporation if required by the certificate of incorporation (Assigned to Senate County and Municipal Government Committee). 

SB329 by Sen. Barfoot: To provide that during a certain period of time before an election, qualified candidates, principal campaign committees, and party executive committees shall be charged no more than the lowest unit rate charged by a broadcasting station for comparable advertisements (Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee). 

SB334 by Sen. Singleton: To establish the Horse Racing Modernization Act to establish the Alabama Racing Commission and provide for the issuance of licenses to conduct horse racing, to provide for a tax on certain racing revenues and provide for the distribution of the tax proceeds, to enter into the Interstate Compact on Licensure of Participants in Live Racing with Pari-mutuel Wagering, and to provide criminal penalties for a violation (Assigned to Senate Tourism Committee). 

SB335 by Sen. Singleton: To prohibit persons from possessing a firearm that has a part or combination of parts designed or intended to convert a firearm into a machine gun installed on or attached to the firearm (Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee). 

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE 

The House State Government Committee gave favorable reports to HB434 by Representative Mike Shaw to designate the Alabama Shad as the official state migratory fish, and to SB225 by Senator Garlan Gudger to designate Little Bluestem as the official state native grass. The Senate State Governmental Affairs Committee gave a favorable report to HB229 by Representative Ron Bolton to designate Little Bluestem as the official state native grass. 

Little Bluestem and the Alabama Shad are attempting to join the Southern Longleaf Pine (Official State Tree), Johnstone’s Junonia (Official State Shell), and the Oak-leaf Hydrangea (Official State Wildflower) among others as official symbols of the State of Alabama. 

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