15 pre-filed bills in the state legislature worth watching in 2020

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Quietly waiting for the upcoming 2020 legislative session, you’ll find dozens of pre-filed bills in the Alabama Legislature. 67 in the House of Representatives, to be exact, and another 49 in the Senate (at the time of publishing).

Among these 116 bills, a small handful is catching the attention of Alabamians. Here are the 15 bills you need to watch this legislative session:

HOUSE PRE-FILED BILLS
  1. HB1. Under existing law, the game of bingo to be played in Macon County. Co. This bill would permit the county allow it to be be played on electronic machines authorized by the National Indian Gaming Commission. This is a constitutional amendment that, if passed, would be presented to voters for consideration on election day.

  2. HB4. This bill would repeal current state income and state, county and municipal sales taxes and in turn replace it with a consumption tax, taxing what Alabamians actually purchase. The bills specifies a 8.03% tax rate on every purchase of new products and services. The tax would be collected by merchants at the point of sale.
  3. HB7. Provides that any vacancy in a judicial seat that occurs within 45 days of a primary or general election be filled by special election.

  4. HB16. This bill would require a day care center to place a phone call to the parent or guardian of a child to ask about the child’s status if that child is enrolled at the center and has not arrived by 12 9:30 a.m. Dubbed “The Cash Edwin Jordan Act,” the bill is named after the 11-month-old who died after being left in a hot car in Oxford, Ala. in Sept. 2019.

  5. HB20. This bill would provide that public K-12 schools may not participate in, sponsor, or provide coaching staff for interscholastic athletic events at which athletes are allowed to participate in competition against athletes who are of a different biological gender, unless the event specifically includes both biological genders.

    This bill would also provide that the state or any of its political subdivisions may not use, permit, or allow to be used any property that it owns or controls for interscholastic athletic events at which athletes are allowed to participate in competition against athletes who are of a different biological gender, unless the event specifically includes both biological genders.

  6. HB28. Under existing law, a registered voter may only vote by absentee ballot if he or she meets one of the criteria prescribed by law for voting absentee. This bill would allow a registered voter to vote by absentee ballot without an excuse.

  7. HB30. Under existing law, voters in Alabama may vote only on election day.  This bill would require each county to provide at least one early voting center to be open for a period of 14 days during the week immediately preceding election day, which allows registered voters to vote prior to the official election day.

  8. HB39. Under current law, concealed carry permits are issued by the sheriffs of each county. Each sheriff may have different fees, forms, and processes for the issuance of a concealed carry permit. Further, each county may maintain separate databases of individuals authorized to carry a pistol in a vehicle or concealed on or about his or her person within this state.

    This bill would standardize a process by which concealed carry permits may be issued statewide and would create a state concealed carry permit information system by which relevant data may be maintained and provided to law enforcement.
  9. HB41. Under existing law, active duty members of the United States Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, or Alabama National Guard do not have an option for deducting their active duty military pay and allowances on their Alabama individual income tax returns while stationed outside of Alabama. This bill would grant a deduction to active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces on their Alabama individual income tax return for active duty military pay and allowances.

  10. HB46. Under existing law, there is no prohibition against smoking tobacco products in a motor vehicle when a child is also present in the vehicle. This bill would prohibit smoking tobacco products in a motor vehicle when a child aged 14 years or under is also present in the vehicle.
SENATE PRE-FILED BILLS
  1. SB1. This bill would repeal certain restrictions on the carrying or possession of a firearm on certain property or in a motor vehicle by persons with or without a concealed pistol permit. This bill would also revise certain restrictions on the carrying or possession of firearms at certain locations.

  2. SB4.This bill would establish an income tax credit for eligible taxpayers who pay toll fees to certain toll roads, bridges, or tunnels — to the Ala. Toll Road, Bridge, and Tunnel Authority, Revenue Dept.— that are constructed with public funds.
  3. SB8. Under current law, certain education and survivor benefits are unavailable to Alabama national guardsmen who perform duties under state active duty status for periods. This bill would expand survivor and education benefits to Alabama national guardsmen who are on state active duty for a period less than the existing 30-day minimum, so that guardsmen assisting with natural disasters or other emergencies may be eligible for state and federal benefits. This bill would also raise the compensation for surviving dependents of Alabama national guardsmen from $10,000 to $100,000.

  4. SB11. Under existing law, a removable windshield placard is issued to an individual with a disability to allow the individual to park in a dedicated handicap parking place. Also under existing law, each removable windshield placard contains the International Symbol of Access and the expiration date of the placard.

    This bill would require each removable windshield placard to contain the photograph of the individual with a disability to whom the placard is issued.

  5. SB44. This bill would provide that when a person is found guilty of committing a misdemeanor or felony against a law enforcement officer and it is shown beyond a reasonable doubt that the commission of the crime was motivated by the victim’s employment as a law enforcement officer, the person is subject to heightened criminal penalties.

The 2020 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature begins Tuesday, February 4.