Capitol News & Notes: Week Three
March 2, 2021
After a weeklong break due to COVID-19 precautions, the Legislature reconvened on Tuesday, February 23, and used another three legislative days last week. In the nine legislative days utilized so far, the House has introduced 470 bills, and the Senate has introduced 275 bills.
Historic Tax Credit Bill
The widely used Alabama Historic Tax Credit is being considered by the Legislature for an early renewal. HB 281, sponsored by Rep. Victor Gaston (R-Mobile), was given a favorable report by the House Ways and Means Education Committee with one amendment. As amended, HB 281 renews the Historic Tax Credit for five more years through 2027, clarifies that the tax credit is refundable for entities receiving the tax credit by transfer or assignment, and restricts the tax credit to projects with commercial or business purposes for tax years 2023 through 2027. On Thursday, the bill passed the House with a 96-1 vote, and it now goes to the Senate.
Tax Sales Bill
HB 201, sponsored by Rep. Jim Hill (R-Moody), would allow tax sales to occur on the premises of or within the courthouse or courthouse annex of the county, instead of requiring the sale in front of the courthouse door. Alabama REALTORS® supports this legislative fix to tax sales due to past strict judicial interpretation of this statute. Last Tuesday, the bill passed out of the House with a 94-0 vote, and it is awaiting action in the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.
Alabama Real Estate Commission (AREC) Sunset Bill
The Alabama Legislature’s Sunset Committee reviews audits of certain state agencies on a one- to four-year cycle to ensure compliance with state laws and regulations. HB63, sponsored by Rep. Rex Reynolds (R-Huntsville) and Rep. Howard Sanderford (R-Huntsville), would provide for the continuance of AREC until October 1, 2023, in accordance with the Sunset Committee’s recommendation, at which time the agency will be reviewed again in accordance with the normal four-year cycle. On Thursday, the House passed the bill with a 98-1 vote, and it now moves to the Senate, where it must be considered before the fifteenth legislative day.
Outdoor Dining with Pets
HB235, sponsored by Sen. Steve McMillan (R-Bay Minette), would allow dogs in outdoor dining areas if the owner of the establishment agrees to allow it, amongst other requirements. This bill does not impact service dogs within the meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which are still permitted inside a food service establishment. On Thursday, this bill passed the house with an 88-8 vote, and it will move to the Senate for consideration next.
A Look Ahead
The House reconvened today at 1 p.m., and the Senate reconvened today at 2 p.m. The Legislature is expected to use another three legislative days this week and then meet for two legislative days the following two weeks. By their legislative spring break, it is anticipated that the Legislature will have used 16 of its 30 legislative days.