Capitol News & Notes: Week 7 - Budgets Moving, Lottery Bills Filed, Stay Tuned for Call for Action
March 8, 2022
After last week, 12 legislative days remain in the 2022 regular session, and with an expected early end to the session, the budget bills are moving at an accelerated pace. Last week, 37 bills were filed in the House for a total of 452 House bills, and 31 bills were filed in the Senate for a total of 295 Senate bills. Here are the updates from week 7.
Last week, the Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget was reported favorably out of a House committee and is on the House special order calendar for today. The FY 2023 ETF budget contains $8.1 billion in appropriations, which includes a 4% pay raise for education employees, as well as a one-time bonus for employees. The General Fund (GF) budget passed the Senate several weeks ago and is on the agenda for the House Ways and Means General Fund committee tomorrow. It could be on the House calendar as early as Thursday for final passage. This year, the record GF budget contains $2.7 billion in appropriations, including a pay raise for state employees.
Lottery Bills Filed
Senator Greg Albritton (R-Atmore) filed two bills last week providing for gambling in the state. One bill is a constitutional amendment allowing gambling, while the other provides additional details on what will be allowed. The bills would allow traditional lottery games, both in-state and multi-state, allow online sports betting, and establish eight casinos around Alabama, four of which would be at the existing dog tracks in the state. Both bills will be in a Senate committee on Wednesday, and possibly on the Senate floor on Thursday. Similar bills were filed last year but failed to pass.
Process Server Bill – REALTOR® Amendment
HB 364 would bring process servers under the jurisdiction of the Board of Private Investigators. Currently, process servers are loosely regulated by the court system, with no license required. This bill would require anyone wishing to be a process server to first obtain a license from the Board of Private Investigators. Alabama REALTORS® worked with the sponsors and interested parties to amend the bill to ensure that a real estate agent engaged in normal real estate and property management services, such as posting eviction notices, is not required to undertake the additional expense of hiring a process server to conduct ordinary and routine real estate and property management services, or to become a licensed process server, themselves, to conduct the same activity.
A Look Ahead
Today, the House and Senate reconvened at 2 and 2:30 respectively. Three legislative days will be used this week, with committees primarily meeting on Wednesday. The Legislature has two weeks until a scheduled week off for Spring Break. Stay tuned for a REALTOR® Call for Action to contact your senator about the bill renewing the First-Time Homebuyer Savings Account program.