Capitol News and Notes: Week 7
April 23, 2019
The Legislature completed days 10 and 11 of the 30 legislative days last week. Last week’s legislative activities included a bill exempting economic developers from registering as lobbyists, which goes to the Governor for her signature, a bill adding protections for franchisees, which passed a Senate Committee, and a bill expressly stating that daily fantasy sports are not gambling, which passed a House Committee.
REALTOR® License Plate Bill Passes Senate
SB 208, sponsored by Senator Jimmy Holley (R-Enterprise), passed the Senate on Tuesday, April 16. After Senator Holley explained the bill to his colleagues, the Senate unanimously voted 31-0 in favor of the bill. The bill allocates the proceeds from sales of REALTOR® car tags to the Alabama REALTORS® Foundation. Through the Foundation, Alabama REALTORS® will support disaster relief efforts throughout the state, provide for other benevolent efforts for REALTOR® members, and offer educational scholarships for children of REALTORS®. Alabama REALTORS® greatly appreciates Senator Holley’s efforts on our behalf.
SB 208 now awaits consideration by a committee of the Alabama House of Representatives.
Pictured Above: Senator Holley addresses the Senate on SB 208
Bill Increasing Mortgage Recording Fees Dies in Committee
As reported in CNN Week 6, Senator Linda Coleman-Madison (D-Birmingham) filed a bill, SB 189, that would increase the mortgage recording fee from $0.15 to $0.20 per $500 of the loan amount. Last week, SB 189 was considered by the Senate Government Affairs Committee, but due to strong opposition from the Alabama REALTORS®, the bill did not receive a vote but was carried over. Alabama REALTORS® strongly opposes any measures that increase the cost of homeownership, including increases to the mortgage or deed recording fees.
Senate Passes Bill Clarifying the Medicaid Lien Process, Incorporating Provision Requested by AAR Public Policy Team
On April 16, the Senate passed SB 76, sponsored by Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur). This bill requires individuals commencing probate proceedings to provide the Alabama Medicaid Agency with notice that such a proceeding has been initiated.
Medicaid liens can be placed on real property as collateral for when Medicaid patients are placed in an in-patient facility such as a hospital or nursing home to ensure that the Medicaid Agency receives reimbursement for services rendered. Medicaid already has the ability to place liens on real property under federal law. 42 U.S.C. §1396p.
The AAR Public Policy team was successful in working with senior Medicaid Agency officials on an amendment to the original bill, which was adopted by the Senate prior to the bill’s final passage. The amendment provides further clarity in state law regarding Medicaid liens on real property. This amendment provides clear statutory guidance on how the Medicaid lien process works for real estate professionals, consumers, judges, lawyers and members of the public.
The amended bill now moves to the House for consideration. The AAR Public Policy team will continue to monitor the bill as it moves through the legislative process.