3/19/2018 Group Watch: Ethics Law Clarifications

The  House passed a bill to clarify how legislators accept contracts under the state’s 2010 ethics law. The bill’s sponsor said his bill would require legislators to notify the Alabama Ethics Commission that they have entered into a consulting agreement in an area outside of their normal scope of work.

3/19/2018 Group Watch: Juvenile Detention Reforms Pass

Alabama lawmakers passed a bill they hope will keep low-level offenders out of state detention centers. The legislation as proposed aims to keep low-level offenders at home instead of in lock-up facilities by limiting the numbers of offenses that put juveniles in detention among the reforms. Critics worry about adequate funding and overburdening juvenile probation officers. Funding for the system has brought it under federal scrutiny in the past.

3/19/2018 Group Watch: State Oversight for Faith-Based Child Care

The Senate approved a House-passed bill dubbed the Child Care Safety Act that gives the state limited oversight over faith based daycare centers. The Senate voted 22-4 for the compromise legislation. Governor Ivey’s office said she will review the bill before making a decision on signing it into law. The bill requires faith-based daycare centers that receive any state or federal funds to get licensed by the state. It would also require exempt centers to submit proof of fire and safety inspections and background checks on workers.

3/19/2018 Group Watch: School Safety Task Force Back

Last week, the House voted 83-6 to reinstate The Alabama Task Force on School Safety and Security. Read more here.

3/19/2018 Group Watch: Fantasy Sports Bill Dies

It looks like legal fantasy sports in Alabama will remain a fantasy, at least for now. Even though it easily and swiftly moved out of the Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee, SB325 was killed on the Senate floor last week before a vote was taken.The bill would have allowed fantasy sports companies to operate in Alabama with the state regulating the industry and receiving fees from it.

March 12, 2018 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

News & Views from the State House

Things keep moving ahead, running relatively smoothly, and last week in the Legislature saw the passage of more local bills, in addition to bills to provide education associations equal access to public school employees.
  • On Tuesday (17th day of session): The House passed several bills of local application only and general bills to revise membership of the Workforce Council; to further define “aggravating circumstances” if a victim is a law enforcement or correctional officer, first responder or under the age of 14 years of age; and to grant all professional educators’ associations the same level of access to employees of public schools. The Senate passed several bills of local application only and general bills to establish the Alabama Cold War Victory Medal Act; to revise the qualifications for certain municipalities to establish entertainment districts; and to revise the definition of a protected person under the Adult Protective Services Act.
  • On Wednesday (a committee day): The House Health Committee approved a Senate-passed bill to authorized certain healthcare providers to sign forms that may be signed by a physician. The House Ways and Means General Fund Committee approved Senate-passed bills to fund the Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Children First Fund, a cost-of-living increase for state workers and a one-time lump sum bonus for state retirees and the General Fund Budget for agencies of state government. The House Judiciary Committee approved a bill relating to revision of the Juvenile Justice System with several committee amendments. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved a bill to create the Alabama Rural Hospital Resources Center within the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee approved a bill that provides an income tax credit to a business that loses an employee to another business receiving an economic tax incentive from state government. It also approved House-passed bills to fund Lyman Ward Military Academy, Tuskegee University and a supplemental appropriation to the Alabama Community College System.
  • On Thursday (18th day of session): The House passed a large number of bills with local application only and general bills to eliminate the restricted sales of products by manufacturers of alcoholic beverages; to authorize additional types of community development districts to include marinas on lakes; to authorize the sale of tax liens at auction to the bidder with the lowest interest rate; and to reduce the notice period for lease termination. The Senate also passed a large number of bills with local application only and general bills to require a parenting plan in all child custody matters and to require County School Superintendents be appointed unless provided otherwise by constitution.

3/12/2018 Group Watch: Tweet of the Week

March 7
Great night at @HighlandsAL 1st Wednesday Montgomery. #alpolitics

3/12/2108 Group Watch: Tax Bill Passes

SB76, sponsored by Senator Del Marsh (R–Anniston), which raises the threshold for claiming the maximum exception for state income taxes for low- and middle income earners, passed on a unanimous vote in the House last week, marking its final passage. It now goes to the governor for her signature. It is estimated that the bill will save taxpayers $4 million a year.

3/12/2018 Group Watch: Sadie Grace Bill Passes

The entire House gave a standing ovation to Corrie Andrews after passing bill named after her daughter Sadie Grace with a 99-0 vote. The bill is simple. It requires covers to be placed on grease traps to prevent someone from falling through. The legislation comes after tragedy, when 3-year old Sadie Grace Andrews fell into a grease trap at a local business and drowned. With the bill passing and highly likely to be signed by the governor, the measure is sure to save lives in the future.

3/12/2018 Group Watch: Cyber Bullying Bill Passes

The Alabama House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill to protect children from cyberbullying in honor of a 10-year old boy who committed suicide last year. The fifth grader took his own life after he was bullied online last October. The child’s mother was present in the state house for the bill’s passage. The bill had 88 co-sponsors in the 105-member House.

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