Capitol News and Notes: Week 8

Capitol News and Notes: Week 8

Seventeen legislative days remain in the 2019 Regular Session after a two-day week last week. With just over half the session remaining, the two most important pieces of legislation – the budgets – are moving slowly. The Senate narrowly passed a lottery bill on Thursday. The bill, SB 220, sponsored by Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Atmore), is a constitutional amendment, providing voters the opportunity to vote on a paper-only lottery, which includes multi-state games like Powerball. Under the bill, proceeds from the lottery would first go to pay back the Alabama Trust Fund for loans during the 2013, 2014, and 2015 fiscal years. After repayment, the proceeds would be split between the General Fund, a reserve fund and a lottery trust fund. SB 220 now goes to a committee in the House of Representatives for consideration.  

Homestead Exemption Bill Passes Committee

HB 338, sponsored by Rep. David Faulkner (R-Birmingham), passed the House State Government Committee on Wednesday. The Homestead Exemption provides for an affidavit claiming a homestead exemption that a home purchaser can complete at closing to be filed by the closing attorney or other professional. 

Currently, homestead exemptions are filed in the county tax assessor’s office after a recorded deed is received by the homeowners. Under current law, no form or procedure for doing so exists. HB 338, will clarify and streamline the process by providing a form, approved by the Alabama Department of Revenue. 

HB 338 now goes to the full House for consideration.  

REALTOR® License Plate Bill Passes House Committee

Also on Wednesday, the House Ways and Means Committee approved SB 208, the REALTOR® Car Tag bill. SB 208 will allocate 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 the full Alabama House of Representatives for final passage.

Applicant’s Information with Strengthen Alabama Homes Program Protected

A bill to protect the sensitive information of homeowners participating in the Strengthen Alabama Homes (SAH) Program was given a favorable report by the Senate on April 25. HB 363, sponsored by Representative Chip Brown (R-Mobile), would declare grant applications to the SAH Program to be confidential under Alabama’s Open Records Act. The SAH Program has supported homeowners in coastal Alabama by providing grants for wind-mitigation upgrades on residences. It is hoped that the program will be extended statewide. For those considering applying, the applicant’s name and the grant amount awarded are available to the public. Additional information can be found on the SAH Program website here.

HB 363 now awaits consideration by the House of Representatives for final passage.