Alabama Legislature 2018: What passed and what failed

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The 2018 Legislative Session has officially come to a close. State legislators filed 992 bills in the 2018 session. Only 32.66 percent, or 324 bills, were passed by both the House and Senate chambers. As of April 11 at 5:00 p.m., Gov. Kay Ivey has signed 312 bills*.

ALCOHOL

  • DIRECT WINE SHIPMENTS BILL (FAILED): Would allow adult consumers in Alabama to purchase a limited amount of wine directly from wineries licensed by the state. (SB243 | Sponsored by Madison-Republican State Sen. Bill Holtzclaw)
  • ALCOHOL SALES ON SUNDAYS IN AUBURN BILL (SIGNED INTO LAW): Allows for the City of Auburn to may authorize and permit the sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption on Sundays. (HB444 | Sponsored by Lee County-Republican State Rep. Joe Lovvorn)

BUDGET

  • GENERAL FUND (PASSED): funds Alabama’s non-education agencies (Sponsored by Montrose-Republican State Sen. Trip Pittman)
  • EDUCATION TRUST FUND (PASSED): a $6.6 billion education budget for Fiscal Year 2019, which starts October 1 is the largest education budget for Alabama’s schools since the great recession of 2008
  • TEACHER PAY RAISE BILL (SIGNED INTO LAW): enacts a 2.5% salary increase for public education employees of K-12 public schools, the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind (AIDB), the Department of Youth Services School District, the Alabama School of Fine Arts, the Alabama High School of Mathematics and Science, and the two-year postsecondary institutions under the Board of Trustees for the Community College System.  (HB174 | Sponsored by Tuscaloosa-Republican State Rep. Bill Poole)
  • EXTRA MONEY FOR VETERANS AFFAIRS (PASSED): appropriates an additional $4 million for the Department of Veterans Affairs. (HB180 | Sponsored by Tuscaloosa-Republican State Rep. Bill Poole)

CIVIL JUSTICE

  • RACIAL PROFILING AT TRAFFIC STOPS BILL (FAILED): a bill seeking to require law enforcement agencies statewide to record data about the race and ethnicity of stopped motorists, (SB84 | Sponsored by Birmingham-Democrat state Sen. Rodger Smitherman)
  • CIVIL ASSET FORFEITURE BILL (FAILED): would have tracked how often law enforcement authorities use civil actions to seize a person’s property when criminal activity is suspected. (HB518 | Sponsored by Birmingham-Republican state Rep. Arnold Mooney)

CONSUMERS

  • DATA BREACH BILL (SIGNED INTO LAW): would create penalties for failure to notify affected individuals that their personal data has been compromised. (SB318 | Sponsored by Decatur-Republican State Senator Arthur Orr)
  • BROADBAND ACCESSIBILITY BILL (SIGNED INTO LAW): incentivizes private projects and increases opportunity for rural broadband expansion. (SB149 | Sponsored by Guntersville-Republican State Sen. Clay Scofield; Geneva-Republican State Representative Donnie Chesteen)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

  • PRISON FUNDING (PASSED): adds an additional $85 million for the state prison system over the next two years. The allocation of funds follow U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson ruling last year to a federal lawsuit, which declared Alabama’s prison system has failed to provide mental health care to the state’s prison population and is in violation of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. (Sponsored by Montrose-Republican State Sen. Trip Pittman)
  • NITROGEN EXECUTION BILL (SIGNED INTO LAW): allows the condemned to choose execution by nitrogen hypoxia if lethal injection is unavailable, or if they so elect. (SB128 | Sponsored by Montrose-Republican State Sen. Tripp Pittman)
  • JUVENILE JUSTICE REFORM BILL (FAILED): aims to keep low-level offenders at home instead of in lock-up facilities. (HB225 | Sponsored by Moody-Republican State Rep. Jim Hill)
  • HUMAN TRAFFICKING BILL (SIGNED INTO LAW): Enhances the penalties already in place, increasing the offense to a Class A felony, with a minimum jail sentence of ten years. (SB179 | Sponsored by Alabaster-Republican state Sen. Cam Ward)
  • MARIJUANA POSSESSION BILL (FAILED): sought to change sentencing for possession of one ounce or less to a violation, and to add fines which would not appear on a person’s criminal record, even after repeat offense. (HB272 | Sponsored by Birmingham-Democrat state Rep. Patricia Todd)
  • MARIJUANA TRAFFICKING BILL (FAILED): A bill to up the minimum amount of marijuana needed to be convicted of trafficking from 2.2 pounds to 10 pounds. (SB51 |  Sponsored by Montgomery-Republican State Sen. Dick Brewbaker)

EDUCATION/CHILD CARE

  • DAY CARE REGULATION BILL (SIGNED INTO LAW): The Alabama Department of Human Resources (ADHR) will inspect the nearly 1,000 faith-based centers throughout Alabama once a year, and require criminal background checks and proof of insurance on the people whose care children are being placed into. (HB76 | Sponsored by Tuskegee-Democrat state Rep.  Pebblin Warren)
  • SB323, sponsored by Senator Trip Pittman (R–Daphne), that would allow the state to use the Budget Stabilization Fund to cover the costs of school security.

ELECTIONS

  • END OF SPECIAL ELECTIONS BILL (SIGNED INTO LAW): allows the governor ​to appoint an ​temporary replacement to a vacant Senate seat, followed by an election that would coincide with the next general election occurring more than one year after the ​vacancy occurs.​ (SB15 | Sponsored by State Sen. Rusty Glover)

ETHICS

  • ETHICS EXEMPTION BILL (PASSED): exempts economic developers from the state ethics law. (HB317 | Sponsored by Moulton-Republican, State Rep. Ken Johnson)

GAMBLING

  • FANTASY SPORTS BILL (FAILED): would establish the Fantasy Contests Act and provide for the registration of certain fantasy sports operators conducting fantasy sports contests within the state. (SB325 | Sponsored by Huntsville-Republican state Sen. Paul Sanford)

GOVERNING

  • STRIPS LT GOVERNOR OF POWERS BILL (FAILED): strips the Lieutenant Governor’s office of any legislative duties (SB88 | Sponsored by Lineville-Republican State Senator Gerald Dial)
  • TERM LIMITS FOR LAWMAKERS BILL (FAILED): would have proposed an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama that would provide that no person may be elected to either house of the state Legislature for more than three consecutive four-year terms. (SB127 | Sponsored by Mobile-Republican State Senator Bill Hightower)

GUNS

  • ARMED TEACHER BILL (FAILED): Would allow some public school teachers and administrators to undergo firearms training and arm themselves during school hours (HB435 | Sponsored by Guntersville-Republican State Rep. Will Ainsworth)
  • ASSAULT WEAPON AGE LIMIT BILL (FAILED): would have raised the age limit to buy an AR-15, and other semi-automatic long guns, from 18 to 21. (HB434 | Sponsored by Birmingham-Democrat State Rep. Juandalynn Givan)
  • ASSAULT WEAPON BAN (FAILED): would have prohibited possession, sale or transfer of assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition. (HB472 | Sponsored by Birmingham-Democrat State Rep. Mary Moore)

HEALTH CARE

  • RURAL HOSPITAL RESOURCE CENTER (PASSED): Would create a resource center housed at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Health System to provide support for nonprofit, rural, public hospitals in the state that are facing economic pressures. (SB351 |Sponsored by Jasper-Republican state Sen. Greg Reed; HB446 | Sponsored by Cullman-Republican Randall Shedd)
  • MEDICAID WORK REQUIREMENTS BILL (FAILED):  as amended would no longer require the state’s Medicaid Agency to seek a work requirement waiver from CMS (SB140 | Sponsored by Decatur-Republican State Senator Arthur Orr)

LABOR/WORK FORCE

  • UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BILL (FAILED): would have reduced the current maximum 26 weeks of unemployment benefits to 14 weeks. (SB92 | Sponsored by Decatur-Republican State Senator Arthur Orr)

RELIGION:

  • TEN COMMANDMENTS BILL (PASSED, ON BALLOT): proposes a constitutional amendment, to be voted on directly by Alabamians at the next election, which if passed, would allow the display of the Ten Commandments on public property. (SB181 | Sponsored by Lineville-Republican State Sen. Gerald Dial)

TAXES

  • TAX REFORM BILL (SIGNED INTO LAW): raises the threshold for claiming state income tax exemption. (SB76 | Sponsored by Anniston-Republican and Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh)
  • BIRMINGHAM TAXES FOR BJCC RENOVATIONS BILL (SIGNED INTO LAW): would levy an additional tax on car rentals in Jefferson County to finance a renovation of the BJCC and the construction of an open-air stadium at the facility. (SB311 | Sponsored by Vestavia Hill-Republican State Senator Jabo Waggoner)
  • AMENDS SIMPLIFIED SELLERS USE TAX BILL (PASSED:) amends the existing Simplified Sellers Use Tax program, which passed the Legislature in 2015 and currently allows for online sellers to lock in a lower sales tax of 8 percent if they opt in. (HB470 | Sponsored by Fairfield-Democrat State Rep. Rod Scott)

TRANSPORATION

  • RIDESHARING (SIGNED INTO LAW): Allows ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft to operate statewide through the creation of a consistent regulatory framework for ridesharing companies across the state and eliminate the haphazard, confusing patchwork of differing municipal laws and regulations. (SB143 | Sponsored by Greensboro-Democrat state Senator Bobby SingletonHB97 | Sponsored by Mountain Brook-Republican State Rep. David Faulkner)

VETERANS

  • INCENTIVE TO HIRE VETERANS BILL (SIGNED INTO LAW): raises the tax credit for businesses that hire unemployed veterans from $1000 to $2000 as well as extends the credit to businesses that hire combat veterans, even if they are not unemployed at the time of hiring. (HB83 | Sponsored by Jasper-Republican State Rep. Connie Rowe)

OTHER

  • STATE EMPLOYEE PAY RAISE BILL: (SIGNED INTO LAW):gives state employees and some county employees a 3 percent pay increase (SB185 | Sponsored by Pratville-Republican State Senator Clyde Chambliss)
  • STATE RETIREES BONUS BILL (SIGNED INTO LAW): authorizes a one-time bonus for state retirees equal to $1 for each month employed (SB215 | Sponsored by Lineville-Republican State Senator Gerald Dial)

*Alabama Today will continue to update this piece accordingly with the number of bills Ivey has signed into law.

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