Alabama legislative preview: May 3 — May 4, 2016

Alabama State Capitol

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

The entire session has been covered in the grey cloud of scandal, between accusations of Gov. Robert Bentley‘s infidelity, and the impending ethics trial of Speaker Mike Hubbard, but legislators stayed on track … mostly.

Some much-debated bills like the gas tax are dead for good this year, while others, like payday lending reform and industrial hemp legalization, are walking a blade-thin line to final passage. Here is what legislators have on their plate for the final two days of the 2016 Regular Session.

Here is what legislators have on their plate for the final two days of the 2016 Regular Session.

House — Convenes Tuesday at 1 p.m.

SB372 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 and ProPublica.

  • Sponsored by Sen. Clyde Chambliss (R-Montgomery) in the Senate and Rep. April Weaver (R-Alabaster) in the House.

SB91 regulates Payday Lenders, restricting the interest rates and fees they may charge. The bill being considered in the House Tuesday is a watered-down version of one passed by the Senate in early April. Should it pass the House it would have to be reconsidered by the Senate in the waning hours of the Session on Wednesday.

  • Sponsored by Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) in the Senate and Rep. Danny Garrett (R-Trussville) in the House.

SB268 Currently, an inmate’s eligibility for Medicaid is terminated once they are incarcerated. SB268, already passed by the Senate, would change that termination to a suspension. The bill’s sponsors argue this will help reformed convicts land back on their feet when their sentences are complete.

  • Sponsored by Sen. Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) in the Senate and Rep. Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa) in the House.

SB347 which would give the Department of Agriculture and Industries the authority to study, regulate, and tax industrial hemp, and reclassify the plant as separate from marijuana. Similar bills have been passed previously in both the House and Senate, but because they weren’t identical they must be considered again.

  • Sponsored by Sen. Paul Bussman (R-Cullman) in the Senate, and Rep. Ken Johnson (R-Moulton) in the House.

Senate — Convenes Tuesday at 1 p.m.

HB204 reorders the names appearing on primary ballots in presidential election years to present elected official positions first, and delegates to the national convention last. Currently, the delegates come directly after the presidential candidates themselves, an arrangement found to be confusing for many primary voters, as they had to sift through a litany of names they didn’t recognize to find the candidates for federal and state offices.

  • Sponsored by Rep. Randy Wood (R-Saks)

HB393 is the House version of the industrial hemp bill described above.

HB433 prohibits a sexually exploited child from being “adjudicated, delinquent or convicted of a crime of prostitution.” Essentially, the bill protects children who are victims of sexual crimes or trafficking from being convicted of prostitution. The bill’s sponsor is a longtime advocate for harsher penalties for sex traffickers, and has fought to protect the victims of the deplorable practice.

  • Sponsored by Rep. Jack Williams (R-Vestavia Hills)

HB98 allows qualifying retirees from the U.S. Military to obtain concealed weapons permits from their county’s sheriff at no cost to them. The Sheriff may revoke the permit if cause is found.

  • Sponsored by Rep. David Standridge (R-Hayden)


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