Week Eight is done and we’re getting closer to the end of the legislative session! Let us know what you think of what’s going on in Montgomery.
A lot happened this week. Brace yourselves.
1. Lifetime concealed carry bill heads to the governor’s desk.
On Thursday, a bill that would allow lifetime concealed carry permits passed the Alabama House of Representatives by a vote of 69-18, with multiple Democrats voting in support. The bill, which allows lifetime carry permits at a fee of $300, passed the State Senate last week in a bipartisan fashion. It now goes to Governor Ivey for her signature.
2. Republican-led committee rejects bill allowing legislature to call itself into session. Again.
After Rep. Nordgren’s bill to allow the legislature to call itself into special session failed last month, she garnered 35 cosponsors to show the widespread support for the measure. The bill, however, had to go before the same committee where Rep. Chris Pringle last time voted against it because the governor did not like the bill. On Wednesday, the bill went before the committee again and, even though it had dozens of cosponsors, failed to receive a favorable report by a vote of 4-4. Republican Representatives Chris Pringle and Howard Sanderford joined the Democratic members of the committee in voting “no”. Alabama will continue to be in the small minority of states with legislatures who cannot call themselves into session.
3. Medical marijuana passes first committee in the House.
Two hours after the House Judiciary Committee began discussing medical marijuana on Wednesday afternoon, the measure passed on a voice vote. The bill now goes to a rare second committee, the House Health Committee. A hearing has been scheduled for next Wednesday with a vote promised for Thursday. The bill was amended in committee, so it will have to go back to the Senate if it gets approved by the House in the upcoming weeks.
4. Vaccine passport ban approved unanimously in the Senate.
On Thursday, the Alabama State Senate unanimously approved SB267, a bill that bans government agencies from issuing vaccine passports or tying government benefits to vaccination status. The bill also disallows businesses from refusing to serve an individual based on whether they have taken a vaccine or not. This includes admission to mass gatherings like concerts and sporting events. The bill now goes to the House.
5. Open enrollment passes committee.
Senator Del Marsh’s bill, SB365, to allow students to go to a public school outside of their school district passed the Senate Education Committee by a vote of 7-3. Alabama is one of only three states that does not have an open enrollment policy. The bill will now go to the full Senate.
6. Wednesday’s lottery debate lasts a while.
The lottery was the focus of most of Wednesday in the State Senate and, although debate lasted for hours, Senator McClendon asked for his bill to be pulled out of fear that he did not have the votes. The enabling legislation that sets up how a lottery would work in Alabama if made legal, however, was passed. A possibility still exists that the failed gambling legislation could be substituted into McClendon’s bill, legislation that would bring full fledged casinos to the state. We’re keeping an eye on this.
7. Alcohol delivery bill goes to the governor.
Senator Waggoner’s bill to allow the delivery of alcohol to your front porch passed the Alabama Senate Tuesday after being amended in the House. It now goes to the governor for final approval.
8. Distracted driving bill fails.
A bill that would ban distracted driving failed in the House on Tuesday by a vote of 47-48. Rep. Jamie Kiel (R-Russellville) offered an amendment to ban eating, applying makeup, driving with an animal, and smoking to the bill as well. The amendment failed, just as did the bill, with Rep. Kiel declaring “in the end you cannot legislate safe driving.”
Another thing that you might want to know about:
- A bill that would strengthen the Alabama Accountability Act, Alabama’s premiere school choice program, was heard in the House Education Policy Committee Wednesday.
Til next time.