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April 12, 2021 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

The eighth week of the 2021 regular session of the Alabama Legislature wrapped up last week.

Gambling was back on the table, with Governor Ivey reiterating her desire to let Alabama residents express their thoughts on the matter with their vote.

And education was a headline, thanks to Senator Del Marsh’s “Open Schools Act” bill.

A detailed roundup of daily activity in both chambers is below, followed by articles and updates on specific legislation and other #alpolitics topics.

The House and Senate return on April 13 at 1 and 1:30 pm respectively.

  • Tuesday, April 6 (19th legislative day): The Senate Education Policy Committee approved House-passed bills to require mental health awareness to be included in the annual training session for employees of each K-12 school and to establish the Extended Learning Opportunities Act, creating opportunities for public K-12 classroom credits for learning experiences outside of the typical classroom setting. The committee also approved a bill to create the Open Schools Act. The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee approved House-passed bills to: designate the authority to manage the construction and renovation of property that is part of a state educational institution; create a database to maintain law enforcement information and provide civil protections for background checks and pre-employment checks; and further provide for security of the Alabama State House by the Alabama State Law Enforcement Agency. The House passed several bills of local application only and a general bill allowing governing bodies of certain municipalities to set compensation for municipal utility boards. The Senate passed a number of bills of local application only and House-passed bills to: create Aniah’s law and provide for an additional offense under which an individual can be denied bail; and further provide for definitions of types of foster family homes. It also passed bills relating to engineers and other design professional and their contracts for professional services and to provide procedural due process protections for K-12 students for suspensions and expulsions.
  • Wednesday, April 7 (20th legislative day and a committee day): The House Commerce and Small Business Committee approved bills to suspend the tobacco permits in cases of failure by retailers to pay distributors, which has already passed the Senate, and to further provide for contracts of engineers and other design professionals. The House Education Committee approved a bill to require local boards of education to post information relating to work-based learning opportunities to parents and students. The House Ways and Means Education Committee approved a bill to provide for tuition reimbursement for transition and postsecondary programs for children of disabled veterans with intellectual disabilities. The Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee approved a House-passed bill to require electronic monitoring for certain inmates upon release by Pardons and Parole Board. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a House-passed bill to authorize local boards of education to offer yoga as an elective to students in K-12 and a bill to prohibit certain defendants from being granted bail. The House passed several bills relating to the Alabama Board of Registration for Foresters relating to continuing education requirements, call meetings of the Board and the sale of nominal marketing materials. They also passed bills to require healthcare facilities to allow one caregiver or visitor to patients or residents, subject to reasonable restrictions, and require hospitals to bill an injured person’s health insurance and only seek compensation from health insurance when certain circumstances apply, clarifying hospital lien provisions. The Senate passed a bill establishing the Alabama Lottery Commission, its powers and duties and the distribution of proceeds.
  • Thursday, April 8 (21st legislative day): The House Health Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee approved bills to provide limitations of liability for certain regional mental health entities and the directors and employees. The House passed several bills of local application only as well as Senate-passed bills to create the COVID-19 Recovery Capital Credit Protection Act of 2021 and provide for standardized statewide issuance and information management of concealed carry permits. The Senate passed bills to provide for the use of hazardous duty time to calculate years of services for in-service death benefits for firefighters, law enforcement and correctional officers and to provide subsistence pay for law enforcement officers employed by the Department of Revenue.

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