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May 10, 2021 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

With the session drawing to its close, two of this year’s headline-garnering bills are facing opposite fates.

The medical marijuana bill passed the legislature last Thursday. If Governor Ivey signs it, it the use of marijuana to treat multiple medical conditions will be legal in Alabama.

However, the gambling bill stalled, and it now looks likely that it will end up on the list of bills that died in the regular session. During debate in the House, tensions were high, and many were playing the blame game.

After a busy week, the legislature has taken this week off and returns for the final day of the regular session on Monday, May 17.

Read more on all this and other last-minute legislative activity below.

The House and Senate return on May 17 at 10 am and 11 am respectively.
Watch live video of both chambers here.

  • Tuesday, May 4 (28th legislative day): The House Education Policy Committee approved a Senate-passed bill to postpone the third-grade retention requirement until the 2024-2025 school year. The House Ways and Means Education, the House State Government, and the House Economic Development and Tourism Committees approved three bills relating to creating a state lottery, to regulate gaming and the extent to which operators could make campaign contributions. Four hours, the full House debated a bill that would allow some form of medical cannabis to be used by certain individuals under certain circumstances but took no vote on the matter. The Senate approved House-passed bills to: require mental health awareness to be included in the annual training session for employees of each K-12 school; provide for an education assistance program for the children of service persons; provide for the broadcast of public K-12 school sporting events; establish learning opportunities outside of typical public K-12 classrooms for credit; and establish the Alabama Innovation Corporation to advance research and technology for small businesses.
  • Wednesday, May 5 (a committee day): There were four bills of local application only approved by the House Committee on Local Legislation relating to Bullock, Blount, Cullman, and Limestone counties. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved House-passed bills to establish the Alabama Non-Disparagement Obligations Act and further provide penalties for persons selling and distributing a controlled substance that results in a death.
  • Thursday, May 6 (29th legislative day): The House approved Senate-passed bills to establish a program to allow the use of medical cannabis for certain conditions, and to adopt Daylight Savings Time statewide if Congress amends federal law to allow it. The House also approved Senate-passed bills of local application only. The Senate approved House-passed bills to establish the Seizure Safe Schools Act and a bill to authorize local boards of education to offer yoga as an elective in grades K-12. They also approved House-passed bills of local application only.

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