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Lt. Gov. Ainsworth highlights full enactment of pro-military legislative package

The legislative package was proposed by the Alabama Military Stability Commission, which is chaired by Ainsworth.

Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth speaks during a video message.
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Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth announced on Monday that the Legislature passed and Gov. Kay Ivey enacted a package of 10 pro-military bills during the 2024 General Session, which continues his on-going effort to ensure Alabama remains among the nation’s friendliest and most welcoming states for active service members, veterans, and their dependents.

“Improving the lives of the men and women who currently wear our nation’s uniform, those who served, and the family members who support them has always ranked high on my list of priorities as lieutenant governor,” Ainsworth said. “The bills we enacted will provide tax cuts for deployed troops, enhance the educational and occupational options for dependents of active armed forces personnel, and implement guidelines that make Alabama even more welcoming for those who serve.”

The legislative package was proposed by the Alabama Military Stability Commission, which is chaired by Ainsworth and tasked with protecting and expanding the federal military bases and other Department of Defense infrastructure across the state.  In addition to several elected officials and cabinet members, the commission also includes regional appointees from areas across the state with a heavy defense concentration.

Among the bills enacted were measures that create tax exemptions for military pay earned by Alabama service members while deployed, provide occupational licensure reciprocity for military dependents, ease school registration and athletic participation rules for children of military families, and begin reforming and improving mental health services provided by the Alabama Department of Veteran Affairs.

Ainsworth noted that enacting the package will also provide assurances that the state’s current military presence will remain secure.

“The federal military bases located in our state play an important role in our state’s economy and job climate, so we are making every effort to retain and expand that footprint whenever possible,” Ainsworth said.  “Virtually every city, county, and state across the nation competes to attract military infrastructure and the jobs and investment that comes with it, and this package makes a strong and convincing case to federal officials that bases and assets currently operating in Alabama should stay in Alabama for many years to come.”

The full list of enacted measures that have become law includes:

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1. HB103 (ACT NUMBER 2024 – 442) was sponsored by Representative Kenneth Paschal, and Senator Gerald Allen sponsored the bill in the Senate. – Provides technical corrections and modernizes ADVA’s statute.

2. HB251 (ACT NUMBER 2024 – 397) was sponsored by Representative Chad Robertson, while Senator Andrew Jones sponsored the companion bill, SB206. – Allows dependents of military service members to enroll in athletics programs even if they move outside of the established registration cycle.

3. HB284 (ACT NUMBER 2024 – 399) was sponsored by Representative Jerry Starnes, and Senator Clyde Chambliss sponsored the bill in the Senate. – Provides uniformity and conformance to federal standards for the provision of benefits under the Alabama GI and Dependents Education Benefit Act.

4. SB135 (ACT NUMBER 2024-358) was sponsored by Senator Andrew Jones, while Representative Chip Brown sponsored the House companion bill, HB197. – Requires the Department of Mental Health and Department of Veterans Affairs to develop a plan to address Alabama veterans’ behavioral health needs and consider pilot programs to address gaps for specific veterans’ behavioral services.

5. SB207 (ACT NUMBER 2024 – 366) was sponsored by Senator Kirk Hatcher, while Representative Mark Gidley sponsored the House companion bill, HB317. – Enrolls Alabama into the Dietician Interstate Compact to assist with military and military spouse occupational licensure. 

6. SB208 (ACT NUMBER 2024 – 298) was sponsored by Senator Keith Kelley, while Representative Kenyatté Hassell sponsored the House companion bill, HB318. – Enrolls Alabama into the Social Work Interstate Compact to assist with military and military spouse occupational licensure.

7. SB209 (ACT NUMBER 2024 – 170) was sponsored by Senator Andrew Jones, while Representative Kenneth Paschal sponsored the House companion bill, HB283. – Exempts all overseas deployment pay from state income tax for all service members and exempts National Guard and Reserve state-side mobilization pay from state income tax.

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8. SB210 (ACT NUMBER 2024 – 327) was sponsored by Senator Rodger Smitherman, while Representative Kenyatté Hassell sponsored the House companion bill, HB260. – Provides for concurrent state/federal jurisdiction for crimes committed by juveniles on Alabama military installations if the crime is also a state offense and the federal prosecutor waves exclusive jurisdiction.

9. SB211 (ACT NUMBER 2024 – 328) was sponsored by Senator Donnie Chesteen, while Representative Patrice McClammy sponsored the House companion bill, HB292. – Allows for remote and early enrollment of military dependents into special education services when moving from out of state. Also requires parental notification and consent before changing a dependent’s Individual Education Plan.

10. SB287 (ACT NUMBER 2024 – 329) was sponsored by Senator Sam Givhan, while Representative Cynthia Almond sponsored the House companion bill, HB412. – Modernizes the Alabama Code of Military Justice at the request of the Alabama National Guard.

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