Capitol News & Notes: Week Nine
April 12, 2021
Last week, the Legislature once again resumed a three-day legislative week. They have completed 21 of 30 possible session days. As of today, April 13, the House has introduced 611 bills, and the Senate has introduced 387 bills.
Bills of Interest
Lottery Bill Debated - Last Wednesday, the Senate debated the lottery bills, SB319 & SB320, sponsored by Sen. Jim McClendon (R-Springville), for more than three hours. SB319 establishes the constitutional amendment that would allow for a lottery, and SB320 is the enabling legislation. The bills would set up a lottery and a lottery trust fund, which would be divided equally in the state’s budgets. After many amendments were considered, the Senate voted to pass SB320 with a 30-2 vote, but Sen. McClendon asked for SB319 to be carried over.
Medical Marijuana Bill Passes First House Committee - SB46, sponsored by Sen. Tim Melson (R-Florence), would legalize medical marijuana for persons with qualifying medical conditions. After a public hearing the week prior, the House Judiciary Committee took a vote on the bill last Wednesday, and it received a favorable report after consideration of 17 amendments. Typically, a bill would only go through one committee, but due to the nature of the bill, the bill is now moving to the House Health Committee for further review. The House Health Committee will hold a public hearing on the bill on Wednesday with a vote expected to follow on Thursday. If the bill receives a favorable report, it still needs a House vote and would move back to Senate to concur with changes.
Alcohol Delivery Bill Sent to Governor’s Desk - SB126, sponsored by Sen. Jabo Waggoner (R-Vestavia Hills), would allow Alabama residents to have beer, wine and other spirits delivered to their homes. Last Tuesday, the Senate voted to concur with the amendment made by the House the prior legislative day which would allow brewpubs and distilleries to also be allowed to make home deliveries. The bill has been sent to Gov. Kay Ivey’s desk for final passage.
REALTOR®-Sponsored Remote Ink Notarization Bill - SB275, sponsored by Sen. Sam Givhan (R-Huntsville), would allow for remote ink notarization. Andy Whitt (R-Harvest) will carry the bill in the House. After being passed by the House State Government Committee two weeks ago, SB275 was picked by the Rules Committee for the calendar last Thursday; however, the House did not get to the bill before they adjourned. It is expected that the bill will come before the House for consideration this week.
REALTOR®-Sponsored Homestead Exemption Bill - HB344, sponsored by Rep. David Faulkner (R-Mountain Brook) and eight co-sponsors, will give county tax assessing officials the option of receiving claims for homestead exemptions electronically. The bill has already received a favorable report in the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, and it is awaiting consideration by the Senate. Sen. Shay Shelnutt (R-Trussville) will carry the bill in Senate.
Broadband Expansion Bill - SB215, sponsored by Sen. Del Marsh (R-Anniston), would create a state entity, the Alabama Digital Expansion Authority, to oversee the expansion of broadband services throughout the state and would allow the Legislature to appropriate direct funding the state entity. This bill would be a significant step in improving broadband availability in Alabama, especially in rural areas. This bill has passed the Senate, and it is awaiting consideration by the House Urban & Rural Development Committee.
A Look Ahead
During this week, it is expected that the Legislature will only meet for two legislative days on Tuesday and Thursday with Wednesday as a committee day. The House reconvened today at 1 p.m., and the Senate reconvened at 1:30 p.m.