Alabama legislative preview: April 26 — April 29, 2016

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With only two weeks left in the Alabama Legislature’s 2016 Regular Session, the state’s Senators and Representatives will begin scrambling to push their priorities through the sometimes arduous legislative process.

Here is a preview of what our representatives in Montgomery will be tackling this week:

House — Convenes Tuesday at 1 p.m.

HB323 would change the law to allow capital offenders who committed the crime while under the age of 18 would qualify for life imprisonment, instead of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The bill was filed to comply with recent United States Supreme Court decisions in Miller v. Alabama and Graham v. Florida, which held that the Eighth Amendment forbids a sentencing scheme that mandates life in prison without possibility of parole for juvenile homicide offenders.

  • Sponsored by Rep. Jim Hill (R-Moody)

HB534 codifies the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs, which was first established by Executive Order 19 earlier this year. The bill solidifies that the Director of the Office to be a cabinet-level position and creates the Advisory Board on Minority Affairs.

  • Sponsored by Rep. John Knight (D-Montgomery)

HB428 creates a new provision in Alabama’s controversial “chemical endangerment of a child” law, allowing the consumption of controlled substances under the “good faith” supervision of a physician. The chemical endangerment law came under fire last fall after a searing investigation by AL.com and ProPublica.

  • Sponsored by Rep. April Weaver (R-Alabaster)

HB483 allows Briarwood Presbyterian Church, to employ peace officers to “protect the safety and integrity of the church and its ministries.” A similar bill was passed during one of 2015’s special sessions but failed to be signed by Governor Bentley. The push came after a significant drug bust in early 2015 at the private, Christian school.

  • Sponsored by Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Birmingham)

HB157 creates a ban on physician-assisted suicide.

  • Sponsored by Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Birmingham)

HB222 The Voting Rights Restoration Act” would amend the process under which convicted felons can have their ability to vote restored, expediting the process, as well as requiring state and county prisons, jails, and correctional facilities to post information about how felons can apply.

  • Sponsored by Rep. Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa)

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 at this point in the session, including a gas tax increase championed by many of the state’s business organizations, pension reforms, and an $800 million plan to build four new prisons with more than 13,000 beds as a remedy to prison overcrowding.

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