Tag: Alabama Legislature

Medical Marijuana Bill Clears First of Four Votes

MONTGOMERY — Legislation to allow and regulate the use of medical marijuana cleared its first vote Wednesday and now moves to the state Senate, where about half its members voted last year to approve a similar bill.

“We want to make sure that people who have tried other avenues who are not successful have access to this to try if their physician wants them to,” Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence, said Wednesday during a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting.

That committee voted 8-1 to advance Senate Bill 165 with one abstention from Sen. Sam Givhan, R-Huntsville. Read more.

Committee Advances Bill Limiting Occupational Taxes

UPDATED: MONTGOMERY — The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee on Tuesday advanced a measure aimed to slow down the process for cities enacting occupational taxes, despite opposition from several of the state’s mayors.

House Bill 147, sponsored by Rep. Chris Sells, R-Greenville, would limit municipalities from enacting occupational taxes by requiring any such policy to pass the Legislature as local legislation. The bill, which passed the House last week, now only lacks passage in the full Senate and signature by Gov. Kay Ivey to become law. Read more.

Bills Seek More Financial Transparency From State Licensure Boards, AHSAA

An Alabama lawmaker wants the state’s more than 100 licensing boards, the groups that regulate professionals from contractors to medical personnel, to provide public accountings of their revenue and spending, which he said is millions of dollars a year.
A separate bill would require regular audits of the Alabama High School Athletic Association.

Rep. Chris Pringle’s House Bill 61 would require boards’ expenditures, including contracts and grants, be published on their websites.
Pringle, R-Mobile, said his bill originated from his work a few years ago on a budget reform task force. He said he found out many licensure boards don’t deposit the fees they collect into the state treasury, but have private bank accounts.

“They answer to no one,” Pringle said. He said licensure fees are taxes. Read more.

Transgender Athlete Bill Stalls in House Committee

MONTGOMERY— A bill requiring transgender student athletes to compete on sports teams based on their gender at birth stalled without a vote in a House committee Thursday. Rep. Chris Pringle, R-Mobile, said his “Gender is Real Legislation” is not dead, despite no committee member moving to vote on the bill and advance it. Read more.

Senate Panel Discusses Confederate Monuments Bill

MONTGOMERY — A state lawmaker wants to increase penalties for cities that violate the state’s law protecting Confederate monuments, but others are concerned about creating financial burdens for smaller cities and the lack of an appeal process.

Sen. Gerald Allen, R-Cottondale, said he introduced the bill in order to preserve the state’s history. “How can you tell the complete story by taking away, by whitewashing, by doing away with something that really you can learn something from it,” Allen said.

Allen’s Senate Bill 127 would increase penalties for violating the 2017 Alabama Memorial Preservation Act from a total of $25,000 to $10,000 a day. Read more.

Ivey Budget Proposal Includes North Alabama Forensics Lab, Taylor Hardin Addition

Gov. Kay Ivey’s proposed 2021 General Fund budget includes money for a range of one-time projects focused on mental health, forensic sciences and youth services. 

Ivey’s budget includes funds for a new forensic science lab in North Alabama and more beds at one of the state’s three mental health hospitals in Tuscaloosa. 

Also, money for renovations at the Department of Youth Services’ residential facility near Montgomery is included in capital project line items totaling $95.3 million.  Read more.

Ivey Wants Facts on Gaming; Some Lawmakers Ready to Move Forward With Lottery

MONTGOMERY — Gov. Kay Ivey has told lawmakers she wants the facts on the financial impact of a lottery and expanded gambling in Alabama and is putting together a working group to get them. She won’t take any action on the matter until then, she said.

But that information is months away, and a key lawmaker said Wednesday he’s moving forward with a proposal for a statewide lottery.
Ivey’s working group also will analyze a possible compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.

“I’ll give them to the year’s end, but if they get through sooner, that’ll be fine too,” Ivey told reporters Wednesday. “But I want them to be thorough and get the facts, that’s all I want is the facts, not recommendations. We just want the facts about how much money the state can expect to gain if we do a lottery or if we do expanded gaming or a compact and what the heck does a compact look like?” Read more.

Bills That Would Deny Bail for Violent Offenders Face Constitutionality Questions

MONTGOMERY — Bills to deny bail for those accused of violent crimes were discussed in House and Senate committees Wednesday but did not advance.

In the Senate, a constitutional amendment by Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, would automatically deny bail for six specific violent offenses: murder, first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy, kidnapping, sexual abuse or sexual torture and human trafficking.

The bill, which opponents say would unconstitutionally pre-convict a suspect, is being considered in the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Ward is chairman.