Legislative Update: 3.9.2018
The Alabama legislature had a productive week and seems to be on schedule to finish by the end of the month. On Tuesday, the House of Representatives approved a bill that would exempt “economic development professionals” from lobbying regulations. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Ken Johnson, passed 79 to 7. The bill creates a specific exemption for a person who works full-time on economic development or works part-time and is pre-certified by the Alabama Ethics Commission or its executive director. The bill also stipulates that the term “economic development professionals” does not include public officials, public employees, employees of lobbyists or lobbyists.
On Wednesday, the House Constitution, Campaigns and Elections committee passed a bill that would do away with special elections for state House and Senate seats if a vacancy occurs with less than two years left in their term. Instead of the Governor calling for a special election, they would appoint someone to the post. Senator Rusty Glover, the sponsor of the bill, told the committee that the general fund has been losing money due to several special elections for the legislature because of vacancies over the past year.
Also on Wednesday, several of the supplemental appropriation bills and the General Fund bill itself passed without much debate out of the Ways and Means General Fund Committee. It is expected to be up for much debate on the House floor by the end of next week.
Both Houses worked until dinner time on Thursday. The Senate passed a bill, sponsored by Sen. Arthur Orr, that would give people who take out payday loans more time to pay them off. Orr’s bill would require a 30-day term. The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 20-4. The bill now moves on to the House.
There is a strong possibility that the Alabama Legislature will be in session for three days next week. They will reconvene on Tuesday for its 19th legislative day.
- Gina Dearborn, Tucker Consulting (3.9.2018)