Capitol News & Notes: Week 6 - First-Time Home Buyer Savings Account Renewal Bill Passes House
March 1, 2022
We are officially halfway through the 2022 Regular Session after three legislative days during week six. The Legislature has until April 25th to use the 15 legislative days remaining. If three-day weeks continue, as is expected, the Legislature will be on a trajectory to sine die (end the session) the week of April 10th. Last week, 34 bills were filed in the House for a total of 415 House bills, and 40 bills were filed in the Senate for a total of 264 Senate bills. Here are the updates from week six.
Last week, the Legislature tackled several large ticket issues, including the General Fund budget in the Senate, multiple items on the GOP Caucus agenda, as well as other bills. The General Fund is the largest General Fund budget ever and the bill focuses on savings for future downturns, as well as a 4% pay raise for state employees.
The House considered and passed two bills that Democrats attempted to filibuster - an anti-riot bill and a bill to allow concealed carry of weapons without a license. In the same vein, a “critical race theory” prohibition bill passed out of House Committee over Democrat objections. These bills caused a long week in the House, with lawmakers debating bills into the night on Tuesday.
Several education bills are moving, including the House passage of a bill to either require kindergarten or a readiness test for children entering 1st grade, and similar bills in both chambers making changes to the Literacy Act, a bill requiring students entering fourth grade to be held back if they cannot read proficiently.
First-Time Home Buyer Savings Program Renewal Progresses
The First-Time and Second Chance Home Buyer Savings Account Act renewal bill, HB 171, passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 95-0 on Thursday morning. Alabama REALTORS® sincerely appreciates the efforts of Representative Kyle South (R-Fayette), who sponsored the legislation in the House and Representative Mike Jones who picked the bill for the House Rules Calendar. HB 171 now goes to the Senate for consideration. Thank you to all members who participated in the Call for Action on HB 171! For more information on the bill, you can read prior CNN articles from week four here and week five here.
Strengthen Alabama Homes Funding Bill Passes Senate Committee
HB 39, sponsored by Rep. Chip Brown (R-Hollinger’s Island) would increase funding to the Strengthen Alabama Homes program. The bill has one more hurdle before going to the Governor, as it awaits final passage in the Senate. The Program provides grants to homeowners to fortify their homes against wind damage by using higher-strength materials. If passed and signed by the Governor, the increased funding will help clear the backlog of applications. You can find more information on the program in the CNN recap article from week three here.
Statewide Residential Building Code Bill Filed
Filed last week, SB 242 makes changes to state laws on residential homebuilding. Sponsored by Sen. Sam Givhan (R-Huntsville), the bill creates an advisory council tasked with developing a statewide building code for adoption by the state. The bill is meant to bring all home building in the state under a uniform standard, especially targeting rural and other areas that do not currently have any building codes enforced.
A Look Ahead
Today, the House and Senate reconvened at 1:30pm and 2:30pm respectively. Three legislative days will be used this week, with committees primarily meeting on Wednesday. The Education Trust Fund budget bill is moving in the House and could pass as early as Thursday. The Legislature has three weeks until a scheduled week off for Spring Break.