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March 16, 2020 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

Last week, the sixth of this regular session, saw a education lottery bill get introduced, and amid all the other happenings, Governor Ivey addressed the coronavirus crisis, issuing information on the state’s response now that the virus has made its way into Alabama. Here’s a wrap-up with more detailed information in articles below.

  • Tuesday, March 10, (11th day of session): The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee approved two House-passed bills to require that all annexed property in overlapping police jurisdictions be approved by all affected parties in certain situations, and to authorize the Board of Nursing to establish standards for student nurse apprenticeships. Additionally, the committee approved bills to authorize the Commissioner of the Department of Revenue to make appointments to county boards of equalization under certain conditions, and to authorize the Board of Social Work Examiners to charge and collect fees for verifying the existence of a current license, reinstating an inactive or lapsed license. The House passed several bills of local application only and general bills to create a K-12 Teacher Bill of Rights; to authorize local school boards to offer yoga in grades K-12; and to require monitoring for inmates on work-release in certain circumstances. The Senate debated at length bills relating to the allocation of state judges and to further provide for penalties under the Monument Protection Act before carrying over both measures and adjourning for the day.
  • Wednesday, March 12  (committee day): the House Local Legislation and Jefferson County Local Legislation Committees approved bills of local application only relating to Jefferson and Geneva Counties. The House Judiciary Committee approved bills to require the Department of Corrections to make quarterly reports to the Joint Legislative Prison Oversight Committee and to revise the reporting requirements; to update the statutes relating to video depositions in child abuse prosecutions; and to provide that a conviction of a parent for rape or incest is a ground for termination of parental rights. The House Ways and Means Education Committee approved a bill to modify the participation requirements for the Math and Science Teacher Education Program. The House Education Policy Committee approved bills to require mental health awareness to be included in the annual training for employees of each K-12 school; to further provide that board members of the Community College System may serve two full terms; and House-passed bills to provide for the education of children of military families and to provide for the establishment of charter schools to serve military families. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved bills to expand the expungement of criminal records to include certain misdemeanor and felony offenses and to create the Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights.
  • Thursday, March 12 (12th day of session): The House gave final approval of 28 Senate-passed sunset bills to continue the operation of various boards, agencies and commissions, and a bill to provide a mental health service coordinator for each K-12 school system subject to a legislative appropriation. The Senate passed bills requiring student expulsion or long-term suspension in certain circumstances and gave final passage to House-passed bills to authorize the development of property adjacent to military bases and to provide supplemental appropriation to various agencies including the Department of Public Health for the state response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The House plans to reconvene on March 26 at 9:30 am. The Senate is scheduled to return on Tuesday, March 31 at 2:30 pm. Both are subject to change due to coronavirus. 

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