Alabama legislative preview: Mar. 14 – Mar. 18, 2016

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The Legislative Session resumes Tuesday when the Alabama House of Representatives reconvenes at 1 p.m and the Senate an hour later.

The Senate is slated to take up a slew of measures this week, including SB89 from Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) which would require all Alabama public school students to pass a civics test to graduate.

SB148 from Sen. Jim McClendon (R-Springville), which would require all passengers in a vehicle to wear a safety belt, will also come up this week. The measure met with opposition when last it appeared on the floor, as lawmakers questioned the need for furthering meddling in people’s private matters.

The “Fantasy Contests Act,” SB114 from Sen. Paul Sanford (R-Huntsville), will also come up for discussion this week, as well as SB14 from Sen. Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa), which would authorize carrying weapons in vehicles without a permit.

Over in the House, lawmakers will take up their version of the “Fantasy Contests Act,” as well as the lottery bill from Rep. Alan Harper (R-Northport). HB13 would allow people to vote on whether or not a lottery is allowed in the state, though it provides no details on how profits from such a lottery would be allocated.

The body will also take up three bills from Rep. Mike Jones (R-Andalusia): HB332 which would abolish common law marriages; HB333, which would change laws related to judge’s ruling in divorce cases; and HB334, which would provide a process for grandparents to petition for visitation rights with their grandchildren. A slew of alcohol-related legislation is also scheduled to go before the House.

The House was scheduled to take on the General Fund budget this week, but the activity calendar makes no mention of the legislation coming before the body.

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry is set to take up a bill that would legalize industrial hemp in the state on Wednesday and the Senate Judiciary Committee is slated to take up SB97 from Sen. Gerald Dial (R-Lineville), which would allow the Ten Commandments to be displayed on state and public school property.

The Alabama Prison Transformation Initiative Act will once again appear before the Senate Committee on General Fund Finance and Taxation, where a vote is scheduled to take place.

The House Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security will take up HB98 from Rep. David Standridge (R-Hayden), which would provide a lifetime pistol permit to retired military veterans and the House Committee on Health will debate HB159 from Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Birmingham), which would allow doctors to decline services that violates their conscience.

The House Judiciary Committee will take up two marijuana-related bills: HB61, also known as “Leni’s Law,” from Rep. Mike Ball (R-Madison), which would decriminalize possession of the seizure-reducing medication cannabidiol, and HB257 from Rep. Patricia Todd (R-Birmingham), which would make possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana punishable by only a fine.

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