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March 8, 2021 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

Last week — the fourth of the 2021 regular session — saw debates around gay and transgender issues as well as the FY22 General Fund Budget approved by committee (meaning the House is like to take it up this week) and the passage of multiple board, agency and commission continuation bills. Here’s a rundown of other action.
  • Tuesday, March 2 (10th legislative day): The House passed several bills of local application only, and general bills to; authorize certain entities to continue to operate during states of emergencies under certain conditions and to take certain anti-gay language from sex education standards. The Senate passed several measures, including bills to; require the sale of land for taxes be conducted on the premises of or within the courthouse or courthouse annex and to prohibit minors from getting medications or treatments to change their gender.
  • Wednesday, March 3 (11th legislative day and a committee day): The House Ways and Means General Fund Committee approved several funding measures including the FY22 General Fund budget; The Children First Trust; the FY 22 appropriation for Domestic Violence Centers; and a 2-percent pay increase for state workers. The House Ways and Means Education Committee approved several bills, including a measure to exempt the School of Fine Arts Foundation, the School of Math and Science Foundation and the School of Cyber Technology and Engineering Foundation from sales and use tax. The full House considered and passed one measure; to authorize a tax credit for the cost of acquisition and construction of a qualified storm shelter. They paid homage to those affected or killed two years ago during deadly tornadoes in Lee County and surrounding areas. The Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee approved a number of House passed bills to continue the operation of boards, agencies and commissions. The Senate Education Policy Committeeapproved bills to: to postpone the third-grade retention requirement until the 2024-2025 school year and to further provide for procedural due process protection for suspensions and expulsions in K-12. The Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee approved a bill to provide a one-time lump-sum payment to retired state workers. This measure is being pushed by ARSEA-APEAL who represents state and local government retirees. The Senate passed bills to: authorize the Secretary of State to conduct a one-time post-election audit of the vote count; further provide for the expungement of records to include youthful offenders; and create the Alabama Digital Finance Authority, the Statewide Connectivity Plan, and the Alabama University Research Alliance.
  • Thursday, March 4 (12th legislative day): The House Agriculture and Forestry Committee approved HB460 relating to commercial motor vehicles and compliance with federal motor carrier safety regulations. The House passed several Senate passed measures to: authorize the State Board of Education to issue alternative teaching certificates to qualified former members of the Armed Forces; and establish the Psychological Interjurisdictional Compact to allow licensed psychologist to practice on a limited basis among compact member states. The House also passed a measure to allow honorably discharged veterans to acquire pistol permits without charge. The Senate gave final approval to twenty-six House passed bills to continue specific boards, agencies, and commissions. They also approved a bill to further provide for certain municipalities to revise time frames for local elections and runoffs.
The House and Senate reconvene on Tuesday, March 9 at 1 PM and 2 PM, respectively.

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