MONTGOMERY — The Alabama Legislature on Thursday will convene for the 29th and penultimate day of its 2021 regular session.
The House will convene at 8:00 a.m., while the Senate gets in at 10:00 a.m.
The eyes of the state will especially be on the lower chamber on the day, as the House will attempt to finish with the medical marijuana bill left as old business from Tuesday before getting to the comprehensive gaming package on a special order calendar.
It will likely be a long day for the House, which also needs to concur at some point with the conference committee report on SB 215, the broadband bill, before the legislature adjourns sine die.
With the general fund budget bill still needing its conference report adopted as well, budget isolation resolutions (BIRs) and their 3/5 threshold are still a factor. The BIR was already adopted on Tuesday for SB 46, the cannabis bill, as was a substitute encompassing changes made in the House Judiciary Committee; a floor amendment dealing with changes made by the Health Committee still needs to be adopted.
SB 319, the gaming constitutional amendment, will also hit the floor with a sub adopted by the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee on Tuesday. While beefed up enforcement aspects of the sub should be a positive among the House membership, some representatives have expressed concern to Yellowhammer News about increased high-speed broadband access not being guaranteed to benefit from gaming revenue under the sub. As a constitutional amendment, 63 votes are needed in the House to pass SB 319.
Following SB 319, the calendar features SB 309 and SB 311, two enabling bills in the gaming package. While they need simple majority votes for passage, the preceding BIR votes would still require the 3/5 threshold for adoption.
Live House chamber video will be available here on Thursday.
The Senate has a less controversial agenda for the remainder of the session, however that is not to say things will go smoothly. If Tuesday is an indication, Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro) could be in slowdown mode again on Thursday. He is fighting to get upper chamber consideration of HB 473, the bipartisan Commerce, Rural, Agribusiness, and Opportunity Zone Jobs Act that passed the House unanimously and advanced from Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund unanimously.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn