What Alabamians need to know about the latest activity on Goat Hill — April 14, 2021
MONTGOMERY — The Alabama Legislature on Tuesday convened for the 22nd day of its 2021 regular session.
Both chambers had busy days, lasting into the night.
Here’s a rundown of the day’s proceedings:
The upper chamber gaveled in at 1:30 p.m. and worked through a 14-bill special order calendar.
HB 404, sponsored by Rep. Kyle South (R-Fayette) and carried in the Senate by. Sen. Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa), would allow college athletes to make money off of their name, image and likeness. Sen. Kirk Hatcher (D-Montgomery) has been working on this issue recently and received praised for his work, as well. The bill passed the Senate in a 26-0 vote.
HB 411, sponsored by Rep. A.J. McCampbell (D-Linden) and carried in the upper chamber by Sen. Rodger Smitherman (D-Birmingham), would create a confidential statewide database containing certain employment information for law enforcement officers, including disciplinary actions. The database would be utilized to ensure agencies are able to identify known “bad apples” in law enforcement so they can choose not to hire them. The bill was a compromise that involved significant input from the law enforcement community. HB 411 passed the Senate in a 26-0 vote.
Both HB 404 and HB 411 head back to the House for concurrence or nonconcurrence.
The Senate’s day, despite the productivity of the special order calendar, revolved around gaming. Read about the end result here.
The lower chamber took up a 19-bill special order calendar on Tuesday.
When all was said and done, bills that passed included House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter’s (R-Rainsville) legislation to create the Alabama State Parks Enhancement Authority and implement its bonding authority.
SB 107, Sen. Chris Elliott’s (R-Daphne) bill relating to police jurisdictions, passed as amended in a 61-28 vote and heads back to the Senate for concurrence or nonconcurrence.
Next, SB 117 by Sen. Linda Coleman-Madison (D-Birmingham) and Rep. Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa) on expungement passed as amended 57-38 and heads back to the Senate for concurrence or nonconcurrence.
SB 249 — sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Clay Scofield and Rep. Andy Whitt (R-Harvest) relating to call centers — received final passage in a unanimous vote.
Rep. Jamie Kiel’s (R-Russellville) HB 70 was carried over at the sponsor’s request and did not receive a vote on the day. The bill would prohibit a person from promising to make a payment to an individual or entity, on a per voter basis, in return for proof that a voter or a specific number of voters participated in a specific election.
The House gave final passage to SB 264 by Sen. Donnie Chesteen (R-Geneva) and Danny Crawford (R-Athens). This would legalize the permitted hunting of feral hogs and coyotes at night.
Finally, the lower chamber also gave final passage to SB 171. Sponsored by Sen. Garlan Gudger (R-Cullman) and Rep. Randall Shedd (R-Cullman), this bill would make the sweet potato Alabama’s official state vegetable.
You can view the House’s full daily activity here.
Wednesday is set to be a busy day of committee meetings, starting at 8:30 a.m. and going into the late afternoon. Neither chamber will convene.
One meeting especially to watch will be House Health’s 9:00 a.m. public hearing on SB 46, Sen. Tim Melson’s (R-Florence) medical marijuana bill. The committee is not expected to take a vote on the bill until its scheduled meeting on Thursday.
The House Committee on Boards, Agencies and Commissions at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday is set to take up two related bills — sponsored by Reps. Bill Poole (R-Tuscaloosa) and Jeremy Gray (D-Opelika) respectively — to foster innovation and advance a 21st century Alabama economy.
At 3:00 p.m., House State Government will consider an agenda that concludes with Rep. Mike Holmes’ (R-Wetumpka) HB 242. This bill would increase the penalty provisions and otherwise alter the Memorial Preservation Act.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn