Sunday, April 22, 2012
ALABAMA LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - WEEK 10
Following completion of the 20th and 21st meeting days, the Alabama legislature has passed the two-thirds mark of the 2012 Regular Session. Late Thursday, after a lengthy five-hour debate on the floor, the Alabama House of Representatives approved the immigration reform legislation, House Bill 658. However, this passage was not without its challenges. Legislators mounted a lengthy filibuster that forced the Republican leadership to invoke cloture for the first time during the 2012 Session. Among the amendments passed, the changes included removing a provision that revoked a business license if the company was found to have hired undocumented immigrants at least two times.
The Alabama Senate was not without its own set of challenges this week. After two insurance bills, Senate Bill 231 and House Bill 189 failed on procedural votes, the Senate became embroiled in a filibuster for much of the afternoon, resulting in the indefinite delay of consideration of a number of property insurance bills. The bill at the center of the controversy was Senate Bill 231, sponsored by Senator Ben Brooks, which required property insurers to clearly notify their insured's of discounted premiums for constructing their home to certain standards.
Additionally, Tuesday the Senate passed a heavily amended version of legislative pay raises. Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh remarked, "What came out today was a monstrosity that we want to correct in conference committee." Subsequently, on Thursday morning, the House of Representatives voted 77-8 to non-concur with the Senate changes to the bill and send it to conference committee.
Other legislative developments of interest this week include:
- A measure to require the Department of Revenue to offer a single point of filing for sales and use tax is on the House of Representatives special order calendar for Tuesday, April 24. The bill, SB459 by Senator Slade Blackwell, would significantly simplify the tax process for entities with locations in multiple Alabama taxing jurisdictions. Under current law, businesses must file sales and use tax returns each month in each taxing jurisdiction in which they are located. Under Senator Blackwell's bill (as with the House version sponsored by Representative Jack Williams), businesses would be able to file their returns with the Alabama Department of Revenue. The Senate bill received a favorable report from the House Committee on Commerce Wednesday and now is poised for final passage in the House.
- The Alabama House of Representatives approved a bill that would require the State to give grades to schools and school systems based on performance. The bill would require the state superintendent to create a grading system based on a myriad of performance indicators.
- Wednesday, the Senate Education Committee narrowly voted to pass a proposal for charter schools in Alabama. The bill now heads to the full Senate.
- The Educational Trust Fund Budget received a favorable report from the Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee on Wednesday.
The 2012 Regular Session resumes on Tuesday, April 24th when the Senate will reconvene at 3:00 p.m. The House of Representatives will reconvene on the same day at 1:00 p.m.
This Alert is for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute a lawyer-client relationship. For more information or an explanation about the matters discussed in this Alert, please contact one of the attorneys listed above.