Alabama legislative preview: May 16 – May 19, 2017

Alabama State Capitol

Four days. That’s all Alabama’s state lawmakers have to complete their legislative priorities for 2017. Some bills will end up languishing in the annals of Alabama history, while others will soon have their day on the governor’s desk.

With the time running out, the Republican-controlled Legislature has a full plate of legislative priorities from prison construction, to redistricting, to the budget to get across the finish line, else they will have wait until next year to see them through. Or risk being called back to Montgomery for a special session by Gov. Kay Ivey later this year.

Here is what legislators have on their plate for the final days of the 2017 Regular Session:

House: Convenes Tuesday at 11:30 a.m.

SB187: The Fair Justice Act would shorten the death penalty appeals time by requiring inmates to raise claims such as ineffective counsel at the same time as direct appeal claiming trial errors.

  • Sponsored by Alabaster-Republican Sen. Cam Ward; Rogersville-Republican Rep. Lynn Greer

SB82Marshall James Walton Highway Safety Act would create the crime of homicide by vehicle or vessel if the person causes the death of another person while knowingly engaged in the violation of any state law or municipal ordinance applying to the operation or use of a vehicle or vessel

  • Sponsored by Montrose-Republican Senator Trip Pittman; Mobile-Republican Rep. Chris Pringle

SB108: Prohibits a voter from voting in a primary runoff election unless the voter voted in the preceding primary election of the party for which the runoff election is being held

  • Sponsored by Auburn-Republican Sen. Tom Whatley; Birmingham-Republican Rep. Arnold Mooney

SB23: Would require the AlabamaLaw Enforcement Agency to operate a driver’s license office in each county of the state a minimum of one day each week.

  • Selma-Democrat Sen. Henry Sanders; Gadsden-Democrat Rep. Artis McCampbell

Senate: Convenes Tuesday at 2 p.m.

To be updated when Senate posts Special Order Calendar.

Unfinished Business

There are still several issues left unfinished in this final week of session, including a prison construction plan, state budgets, autism legislation, as well as child care regulations.

One of the most contentious issues is the House redistricting map. The Senate still needs to approve it, but Republican and Democratic lawmakers are at odds with how to proceed as Democrats say new plan continues the state’s history of racial gerrymandering in order to maintain Republican dominance.

Legislation that passed the House decriminalizing midwifery also awaits Senate approval.