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January 22, 2018 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

Neither snow nor (freezing) rain… 

The Alabama Legislature convened last Tuesday despite a forecast of snow, below-freezing temperatures and closed roads. While the weather did shut things down on Wednesday, plenty of work still got done.
  • On Tuesday (3rd day of session): The House honored military veterans and proceeded to pass several bills aimed at helping the lives of veterans, including bills to give veteran-owned businesses an advantaged in winning state contracts; providing additional tax credits for businesses hiring unemployed veterans; and providing free admission to state parks. They also passed a number of bills with local application only. The Senate passed several sunset bills continuing the operation of Board and Commissions, including the Sickle Cell Oversight and Regulatory Commission; the Board of Prosthetists and Orthotists; the Surface Mining Commission; the Oil and Gas Board; and the Elevator Safety Review Board. They also passed bills to eliminate marriage licenses and set up a process under which judges accept affidavits from couples as official records of marriage and to track racial profiling by police during traffic stops.
  • On Wednesday: All meetings were postponed due to weather and road closings in and around Montgomery.
  • On Thursday (4th day of session): The House Judiciary Committee approved bills to prohibit smoking of tobacco products in vehicles with minors present and to terminate the parental rights of any person committing rape. The House Ways and Means General Fund Committee approved a bill to further provide for certain tax-exempt water and sewer authorities. The House Education Policy Committee approved bills to provide for the qualifications of the Secretary of Early Childhood Education and to remove the requirement for public education employees to be on paid administrative leave when charged with certain sexual crimes against students. The House also passed several bills of local application only and general bills to revise the provisions governing the operation of the Examiners of Public Accounts; to further provide for the Alabama Partnership Act; and to further provide for the right-of-redemption in matters relating to residential redemption. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill related to considerations for municipalities when dealing with summons and complaints. The Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee considered bills relating to the Simplified Sellers Use Tax Program and to further provide for further distribution of state tax revenue, but took no actions after considerable discussion.

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