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February 23, 2016 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

News & Views from the State House

The legislature reconvened last Tuesday, February 16, and learned that plans to build a hotel and conference center on the coast have been blocked by a federal judge (learn more below). They also quickly moved through several sunset bills and bills of local application only.

On Tuesday, February 16 (5th day of the session):

  • The House passed one bill of local application only relating to retirement benefits for the county revenue commissioner in Choctaw County and a general bill to prohibit local governmental entities from requiring minimum wage or other benefits.
  • The Senate passed sunset bills to continue the Securities Commission, the Board of Examiners of Assisted Living Administrators, the Behavior Analyst Licensing Board, and the Board of Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Contractors.
  • The Senate also passed a bill of local application only related to the proceeds from bingo games in Calhoun County and creating the crime and penalties for theft of cargo in commercial transportation.

On Wednesday, February 17 (committee day and 6th session day):

  • The House Judiciary Committee gave a favorable report to a bill to create the charge of aggravated child abuse of a child under the age of six and affix penalties and to prohibit the presence of minors under the age of 21 at house parties where alcohol or controlled substances are consumed.
  • The House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee approved bills to revise and stiffen the penalties for violations of restrictions on Stage II drivers’ licenses and to extend the renewal period to six months prior to the expiration of drivers’ licenses.
  • The House Ways and Means General Fund Committee approved a bill to simplify seller use tax remittance.
  • The Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee approved the Alabama Ahead Act relating to the use of technology in local schools on a voluntary basis and the creation of grants for talented children in programs provided by the State Department of Education.
  • The Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee approved a bill to further distribute state tax revenues from agencies with earmarked funds used to match federal funding.
  • The House passed several bills of local application only and general bills relating to the final disposition of fetal tissue, a proposed constitutional amendment related to right to work and requiring a ballot statement to be posted on the website of the Secretary of State.
  • The Senate passed sunset bills to continue the State Board of Public Accountancy, the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Board, the State Pilotage Commission, the Plumbers and Gas Fitters Examining Board, the Real Estate Appraisers Board and the Alcohol beverage Control Board. They also approved a bill to further clarify the authority of the Board of Medical Examiners.

On Thursday, February 18 (7th day of the session):

  • The House passed a bill to authorize the hunting of whitetail deer or feral swine by means of bait.
  • The Senate passed sunset bills continuing the State Board of Auctioneers, the Private Investigation Board, the Board of Examiners in Psychology, the Public Service Commission, the Historical Commission and the Board of Examiners of Mine Personnel.
  • The Senate also passed bills to rename the Heroes for Hire Tax Credit Act to the Veterans Employment Act; to increase the bid guarantee if the Department of Transportation is the awarding authority; and to clarify the 45-day period of review by the legislative contract review committee to begin once all required information is presented to the committee.

The House and Senate reconvene on Tuesday, February 23 at 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm respectively.

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