Capitol News and Notes: Week Six

Capitol News and Notes: Week Six

The Legislature has now used 12 of its session days. With six weeks down and 18 possible legislative days remaining, there have been 779 bills introduced so far this session with 457 bills in the House of Representatives and 322 bills in the Senate.

REALTOR®-Sponsored HB218: Electronic Filing Option for Homestead Exemptions Passes House

HB218, sponsored by Rep. Faulkner (R-Birmingham) and 18 co-sponsors, successfully passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday, March 10. HB218 gives county tax officials the option of accepting electronic filings of homestead exemptions. After the bill was called and Rep. Faulkner explained the bill, the House passed a Budget Isolation Resolution (commonly known as a BIR) on HB218. Until the budgets pass, a BIR must be passed before a bill is considered. 

Alabama REALTORS® has been working closely with the Association of County Commissions and the Tax Assessor’s Office on a friendly amendment to develop a uniform process for the electronic filings and a uniform affidavit. Rep. Faulkner introduced the amendment, which passed. Following the amendment adoption, House Minority Leader Rep. Daniels (D-Huntsville) spoke in favor of the bill passage. With no further questions, Rep. Faulkner moved for a vote on final passage in the House, which voted to pass the bill unanimously by a vote of 105-0. 

The bill will now move to the Senate. Alabama REALTORS® is very appreciative of Rep. Faulkner’s efforts in sponsoring and speaking for the bill in the House. 

Pictured Above: Rep. Faulkner presenting HB218 to the House of Representatives. 

Daylight Saving Time Year-Round Passes House

After setting our clocks forward last week, it is only fitting that HB215, sponsored by Rep. Weaver (R-Alabaster), was on the House floor. This bill would allow daylight saving time year-round if Congress takes action to amend the current law.  The bill passed the House with only one vote of opposition and is headed to the Senate. 

Medical Marijuana Bill Passes Senate 

After five hours of debate, the Medical Marijuana bill, SB165, sponsored by Sen. Melson (R-Florence), also known as the Compassion Act, passed the Senate by a 22-11 vote. As mentioned in past Capitol News and Notes, the bill would allow the use of and regulate medical marijuana. This moves Alabama one step closer to becoming the 34thstate to legalize medical marijuana in some form. However, it will now move to the House of Representatives, where similar bills in the past have faced strong opposition. 

A Look Ahead 

The Legislature was scheduled to adjourn this week for spring break, March 16-20, and planned to reconvene on March 26 for the House and March 31 for the Senate respectively. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the return date of the Legislature is now uncertain. Based on the rapidly evolving situation, both chambers are expected to return on March 31 and make a decision about the remainder of the regular legislative session.