Category: Alabama Legislature

Constitutional Amendment Would Allow $80M Bond Issue for State Park Renovations Passes First Vote

MONTGOMERY —A constitutional amendment that would allow the state to borrow $80 million to improve state parks passed its first vote in the Alabama Legislature on Wednesday.

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner Christopher Blankenship told Alabama Daily News that the bonds would be used to expand and improve campgrounds and recreational areas.

“As we’ve seen this past year with COVID, state parks and outdoor recreation have been extremely important to people for their physical and mental health,” Blankenship said. “We saw great increases in usage at our parks, and also the federal wild properties in the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.” Read more.

More from the Legislature this week:

House Committee Advances Medical Marijuana Bill; Three More Votes Needed

Yoga Bill Going to Senate, Committee Advances Student-Athlete Compensation Bill, More Action in the Legislature

Legislature Sends Alcohol Delivery Bill to Governor

House Passes CA Prohibiting Legislative Changes Within Six Months of Elections

Distracted Driving Bill Fails

Bill Increases Tax Credit Limit for Accountability Act Donors

Legislature Sends Alcohol Delivery Bill to Governor

MONTGOMERY — Alabamians could have beer, wine and spirits delivered to their homes starting this fall.

The Legislature gave final passage Tuesday to Senate Bill 126 from Sen. Jabo Waggoner, R-Vestavia Hills, which would allow customers to have alcoholic products home delivered from grocery or liquor stores and restaurants. It also sets up a delivery license process, fees and rules for alcohol delivery. Read more.

Bill Increases Tax Credit Limit for Accountability Act Donors

Legislation in the Alabama State House would increase the allowable tax credit for individuals and corporations that donate to private school scholarships through the Alabama Accountability Act.

The 2013 law allows for tax credit-funded scholarships for families leaving the state’s lowest-performing public schools. There also is a separate $30 million-per-year scholarship fund for private school tuition. Businesses and individuals who donate to the fund receive income tax credits — money that would otherwise go to the state education budget. Scholarship granting organizations, or SGOs, collect and distribute the money to low-income families. Those students are not required to come from failing schools.

House Bill 559 by Rep. Charlotte Meadows, R-Montgomery, does not change that $30 million cap but expands the allowable credit from 50% of an individual’s tax burden to 75%, capped at $75,000. Read more.

Bill to Allow Churches and Small Businesses to Stay Open During Emergencies Goes to Governor

The Alabama Legislature on Thursday approved a bill that would allow churches and small businesses to remain open during states of emergency. It now goes to the governor.

House Bill 103 by Rep. Jamie Kiel, R-Russellville, would allow businesses and places of worship to remain open as long as they comply with any emergency order, rules or regulations issued by the governor and state or local agencies. It would do away with the idea of “essential businesses.”

Kiel has said small local retailers shouldn’t have been forced to close last year under public health orders while big box stores remained open.

Democrats called the bill dangerous and said it could lead to super-spreader events in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, led Senate Democrats in a filibuster of the bill, arguing it put business interests over public health. Read more.

House and Senate Resume Legislative Session in Slo-Mo

MONTGOMERY — On their first day back in session after spring break, lawmakers in the House and Senate slowed down legislative action to draw out debate and call attention to lack of movement of bills. Read more.

More from the Legislature

House Passes Bill to Shorten Absentee Application Time

Open Records Bill Clears Committee, Lawmakers Want More Work On It

Transgender Athletes, Mandatory Kindergarten, Medical Pot, Double Voting, Police Database, Habitual Offender Laws Debated in Committees