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February 24, 2012 Group Watch: This Week in the Legislature

This past Tuesday marked the 6th meeting day of the 2012 session. Read this recap of the week’s activity in the Legislature.

Tuesday: In the lone committee action on this day, the Senate Constitution and Elections Committee gave a favorable report to a bill requiring lobbyists to report any item provided to a public official that is excluded from items listed as things of value. The House passed bills to ban the sending or reading of text type messages while driving and to establish the Housing Trust Fund Advisory Committee aimed at helping low and moderate-income families find housing opportunities. The Senate passed a local bill permitting the Montgomery County probate judge to establish and use a recording fee for improvement of the office record system. They also passed general bills to revise the procedures governing suspension and appeals for state employees, to stop convicted public officials and employees from receiving taxpayer-funded pensions, and to increase the size of containers that beer can be sold in at retail from 16 to 25 ounces. The Senate approved a resolution mourning the death of the mother of Senator Roger Bedford.

Wednesday: During this committee day, the House Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure Committee gave a quick and favorable report to bill requiring those digging and excavating to participate in a “One Call Notification System.” The House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee approved a Senate-passed bill to require motorists to move over and yield to utility service vehicles when their yellow lights are flashing and a bill to ban the use of social networking sites by prison inmates. The Senate Education Committee approved a bill to authorize the president of the University of South Alabama to employ police officers and did not consider a bill to decrease the mandatory school age from seven to six years old.

Thursday: On this 7th meeting day of the session, the House passed bills to expand a law to require motorists on roadways to move over to avoid emergency vehicles to include utility vehicles and to permit military identification cards to be used as proof of citizenship when purchasing auto tags and conducting other business with the state. Earlier this week, the Senate passed a bill relating to utility services vehicle. One version of the bill must pass both chambers in order to be signed by the governor into law. The House also gave final approval to a Senate-passed bill clarifying the duties of the departments of Human Resources and Public Safety regarding criminal history background checks. The Senate passed bills providing a supplemental appropriation from the Education Trust Fund for teachers certified by the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards and to enhance the penalties for subsequent convictions for human trafficking.

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