Legislative Update: 4.2.2018
The 2018 Alabama legislative session finished early using only 26 of its 30 days allotted by the State’s Constitution for a regular session. This year both houses wanted to avoid controversy in order to get back to their districts early to start campaigning; however, this week was quite different.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, both houses went late into the evening doing tit-for-tat recesses and filibustering. The issue was a bill, sponsored by Senator Roger Smitherman, that would collect data on traffic stops and would require law enforcement agencies to report the data from those stops to the Attorney General’s office. The bill passed unanimously in the Senate earlier in the session but did not pass a procedural vote last week in the House, which caused tensions among all members and across both bodies of the legislature.
The Senate passed HB317, sponsored by Representative Ken Johnson, late Wednesday night. This bill clarifies that economic development officials are not lobbyists. However, concerns were raised that individuals hired to negotiate and recruit business investments to the state might be engaging in lobbying activities.
On Thursday morning, the Alabama Senate voted to concur with a conference committee report on the Education Trust Fund budget and adjourned sine die. With the Senate gone for the session, it left the House with only two options on HB317: concur or let the bill die. The House hotly debated the bill for several hours. The bill passed by a vote of 52 to 22 and 22 abstained from voting on it.
The primaries for the 2018 election will be on June 5th, with the general election to be held on November 6th. Next year will begin a new quadrennium for the Alabama Legislature. All newly elected members will hold an organizational meeting January 8th, 2019. The Alabama Legislature will start its 2019 regular session on March 5th.
- Gina Dearborn, Tucker Consulting (4.2.2018)