Highlights from Week 9 of the Legislative Session and a Look at What’s Ahead for Week 10
March 12, 2018
The Alabama Legislature finished the 18th day of work last Thursday. Talk at the State House is that once the Education Trust Fund (ETF) and the General Fund budget pass in the next couple of weeks, the legislature will adjourn sine die, so legislators can begin campaigning for the June 5th primaries. The ETF will be in the Senate Committee on Finance & Taxation on Tuesday of this week and could possibly see action on the Senate floor as early as Thursday. The General Fund will be on the floor of the House for final passage on Tuesday. Let’s look at the highlights from last week and take a look at what’s ahead for week 10.
Death Penalty Bill Passes House Judiciary Committee
Last Wednesday, SB 272, sponsored by Senator Trip Pittman (R-Montrose), passed out of the House Judiciary Committee with little debate.
The bill would allow a death row inmate the option of being executed by nitrogen hypoxia if lethal injection drugs were unavailable. On February 28, the failed execution of Doyle Lee Hamm has led some politicians to find new ways to administer the death penalty in their states.
At this point, no state has used nitrogen oxide in an execution.
SB 272 now moves to the House floor for consideration.
Bill to Cut down on Special Elections Passes House Committee
SB 15, sponsored by Senator Rusty Glover (R-Semmes), has passed the House Committee on Constitution, Campaigns, and Elections.
The bill proposes a constitutional amendment that, if ratified, would change the state’s laws on special elections. The bill would eliminate a special election if a member of the House or Senate leaves office on or after October 1 in the third year of their four-year term. Instead of the governor calling for a special election to fill the vacancy, the governor would appoint someone to finish out the term.
This year, the state has seen two special elections to fill vacant seats. According to the Legislative Services Agency, if ratified, the constitutional amendment would decrease election expenses paid out of the General Fund.
SB 15 now moves to the full House for consideration.
Bill to Shorten Notice Period for Eviction Passes
HB 421, sponsored by Representative David Sessions (R-Grand Bay), passed the House floor last Thursday.
As originally proposed, the bill would have shortened an eviction notice from seven to three days. The bill would also reduce curable breaches of contract from 4 to 2 days per a 12-month period.
After a lengthy debate by the Democrats, Representative Sessions agreed to allow the eviction notice to remain at seven days. The bill still changes the number of allowable breaches to two per year.
HB 421 now moves to the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs.
What to Expect This Week
This week, expect to see the General Fund pass the full House and travel to Governor Ivey for her signature. Other bills traveling with the General Fund budget will include a bill sponsored by Senator Clyde Chambliss (R-Prattville) that allows for a raise for state employees as well as a bill by Senator Gerald Dial (R-Lineville) that would give retired state employees a one-time lump sum raise. The Education Trust Fund should be voted out of the Senate Committee on Finance and Taxation Education on Tuesday and could see action on the Senate floor as early as Thursday.