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February 20, 2017 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

The Alabama Legislature returned to work on Tuesday, February 14, for the 3rd day of the session. Here are a few highlights:

  • On Tuesday (3rd day of session): The House debated the rules report for several hours before breaking for dinner. After the recess, they quickly voted on a resolution voicing support for President Donald J. Trump. They also passed a bill clarifying the status of institutions of higher education as agencies of the state under the Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act and requiring them to comply with all immigration laws or be subject to forfeiture of certain funds. The Senate passed several bills of local application only and a number of general bills including a bill to further define and regulate the sale of over-the-counter, nonprescription eyeglasses and to allow the Department of Transportation only, greater flexibility on bids on certain public improvement projects. Others passed included bills: to require seatbelt use for each occupant while a vehicle is in motion; to revise the statutes of limitations for certain fraudulent activities relating to Medicaid; and to further provide for the Department of Environmental Management to set fees for centralized waste treatment facilities. They carried over a bill to extend the weight allowances for motor vehicles converted to the use of compressed natural or liquefied gas.
  • On Wednesday (committee day): The House Boards, Agencies and Commissions Committee gave a favorable report to a bill to allow Marriage and Family Therapy licensees to diagnose mental and emotional problems. The House Education Policy Committee approved a bill to establish as a corporate body the Community College System and to further provide for employees and the disposition of property. The Senate Education and Youth Affairs Committee approved a bill to prohibit from requiring residents of the state who live within 75 miles of campus from living on campus. The Senate Finance and Education Committee approved bills to provide grants for educational programs provided by the State Department of Education and to implement the Simplified Sellers use Tax.
  • On Thursday (4th day of session): The House approved several bills of local application only and a number of bills under the sunset provision of state law to continue the following agencies and boards: the board of Licensure for Professional Geologists, the Board of Nursing, the State Board of Pharmacy, the Dental Examiners Board, the Elevator Safety Review Board, the Manufactured Housing Commission, the Board of Optometry and the Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.  The Senate approved bills to create the Alabama Space Authority within the Department of Economic and Community Affairs and to authorize the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections and the Secretary of ALEA to establish a program to issue non-driver IDs to resident parolees upon release.

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