CNN Week 6 – Economic Incentives Move and School Choice Bill Filed

CNN Week 6 – Economic Incentives Move and School Choice Bill Filed

The legislature completed another three-day week last week, and, just like that, we are a third of the way through the 2023 regular session. With twenty legislative days and a little over nine weeks remaining, the legislature is expected to continue sprinkling in three-day weeks to reserve time at the end to limit gubernatorial vetoes. We would like to reiterate our sincere appreciation to Rep. Arnold Mooney and Sen. Dan Roberts for sponsoring a joint resolution honoring AAR’s 100th birthday. The joint resolution received final passage last Wednesday. Read on for a brief summary of last week’s legislative activities.


General Overview

New bills continue to be filed each week, but the pace has slowed. Only 51 bills in the House and 20 bills in the Senate were filed. While the yearly total fluctuates, the 535 total bills filed from both chambers leaves quite a few to go to reach the average of around 900 bills. One of those bills is a school choice bill, filed in both chambers and called the Parental Rights in Children’s Education (PRICE) Act. The PRICE Act would allow parents to receive dollars for a child’s education to be placed in an education savings account, but the bill allows schools to opt out and contains a “phase in” period before fully implemented. Another bill filed last week would enhance incentives tied to use of the Port of Mobile, tying the incentive to a business’s cargo volume. 

The economic incentives package moved in both houses last week. The House passed all four bills in the package, while the Senate passed two. A key change in the House included provisions giving incentives to the tourism industry. Other bills that moved last week include a bill establishing liability standards for establishments that serve alcohol. Called dramshop legislation, the bill limits liability to instances where alcohol is served to a “visibly intoxicated” patron. The bill passed both chambers and went to the governor’s office. 

House and Senate committees passed several other bills dealing with schools. One House bill prohibits the teaching of so-called divisive concepts or concepts that assign guilt, fault or bias on account of race or gender. Another Senate bill requires the teaching of fact-based, historically accurate, and inclusive history, acknowledging minority contributions. Both bills now are up for consideration in their full house of origin.


Real Estate Related Bills

HB 195: The bill renewing the Alabama Real Estate Commission for one year, HB 195, sponsored by Rep. Matt Simpson, has one remaining, legislative step before final passage. After passing out of a Senate committee last week, the bill is expected to pass the full Senate today. As Required by the Alabama Sunset Law, each licensing body is subject to review and audit by the Alabama Department of Examiners of Public Accounts, which then reports any findings to the Alabama legislature for the renewal or termination of the licensing body. Most licensing agencies or departments are renewed by the Legislature in four-year increments. This year, the Real Estate Commission is up for a one-year renewal for the third time in three years. HB 195 renews AREC for one more year. 

HB 260: A bill regarding amendments to the Electronic Security Board, HB 260, sponsored by Rep. Chris Sells, was filed which would make substantive updates to the procedures of the board, increase fines, and increase penalties for disciplinary actions. REALTORS® worked with the stakeholders to ensure property owners, managers and owner’s agents were not required to obtain a locksmith’s license to change the locks on managed properties.

HB 302: A bill regarding the Electrical Contractors Board, HB 302, sponsored by Rep. Mac Butler, was filed which would make substantive updates to the licensure requirements for electricians. REALTORS® are working with the stakeholders to preserve an existing exemption to allow property owners, property managers, and owner’s agents to perform routine electrical maintenance on properties.


Looking Ahead

The Alabama REALTORS® continue to defend against legislation that could hurt members, their businesses or private property rights. The House and Senate were back in session today, reconvening at 1:00 pm and 2:30 pm respectively. We expect this week to be the first two-day week of the session. The economic incentives bills are anticipated to receive the legislature’s focus and final passage.