Sunday, February 19, 2012
ALABAMA LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - WEEK TWO
As week two of the 2012 Legislative Session came to a close on Thursday, the focus of the Alabama Legislature continued to be the jobs agenda advocated by both the Governor and House and Senate leaders.
In particular, on Thursday the House of Representatives passed House Bill 159, a proposed Constitutional Amendment, by a margin of 65-22. This measure, if approved by the public, would give the Governor and the Alabama Development Office the ability to offer incentives for the purpose of creating and retaining jobs and promoting economic and industrial development. Earlier in the week, the House passed House Bill 160, companion legislation to the Constitutional Amendment. Together, these bills would allow companies, in some instances, to use income tax withholdings from their employees for expansion or new construction. If passed by the Senate, the proposed Constitutional Amendment will be placed on the ballot during the general election in November. In praising the House's work, Governor Bentley stated, "This legislation will give us an important new tool to recruit private-sector jobs our people need and deserve."
Other legislative developments of interest this week include:
- The House passed House Bill 152 ("Heroes for Hire") which doubles the income tax credit incentives offered to employers who hire a veteran. Speaker Hubbard remarked, "I'm particularly pleased that we have made sure to take care of our veterans with the 'Heroes for Hire' bill. Those who served on the front lines deserve to go to the front of the line for new jobs."
- The House passed legislation that provides additional penalties for committing unemployment compensation fraud. The bill will now be sent to the Senate for consideration.
- The Senate passed a bill (Senate Bill 48) that provides businesses that invest $100 million on qualifying projects and hire at least 100 employees to retain capital credits for up to four years. The bills sponsor Sen. Arthur Orr, stated, "This would give us an extra arrow in the quiver to help us attract these high-dollar companies."
- The Senate passed a measure to allow private companies to hire prisoners, under certain conditions, provided that private sector jobs are not lost.
- The Senate passed a bill that requires Alabama motorist to move over one lane for utility vehicles conducting repairs or on official state business. Current law already requires motorists to move over for stopped law enforcement and emergency vehicles.
- The House Committee on Commerce and Small Business approved House Bill 150, sponsored by April Weaver. The bill, known as the Reg Flex bill, would require agencies and departments to conduct an impact analysis on proposed regulations prior to implementation to determine the effect that the regulations would have on small businesses. It further would require agencies and departments to conduct a review of all existing regulations to determine whether those regulations should remain in effect.
- Additionally, the House Health Committee discussed but did not vote on a bill that would require athletes to be held out of competition and practice for seven days after suffering a head injury. The committee will take this matter up at a later date. The Legislature has met five days thus far. The Alabama Constitution provides that the Regular Session may only last for thirty (30) meeting days within a 105 calendar-day period.
The 2012 Regular Session resumes on Tuesday, February 21 when The House of Representatives will reconvene at 3:00 pm. The Senate will reconvene on the same day at 5:00 pm. Though subject to change, the Legislature is expected to meet twice next week - on Tuesday and Thursday.
This Client 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.