The Alabama State Bar provides a tracking report concerning pending legislation that may be of interest to our members.
After leaving for Spring Break in the wake of COVID-19 and after much internal debate, the Alabama Legislature reconvened on May 4 (after 2 procedural days on March 26 and March 31) to pass the budgets, handle other essential items and move the session towards the finish line. Much was left on the table and, most likely, will require a special session to finish addressing some pressing matters such as prison reform.
The Alabama State House was closed to the public, and those of us typically present worked in a new way by watching and listening from home. The legislators took the recommended social distancing precautions recommended by Dr. Scott Harris and Gov. Ivey, and they proceeded to work through what they had agreed upon as essential: the budgets and local bills.
Despite the agreement of sticking to the essentials, almost 75 new bills were introduced, many of them local in nature. There have now been 348 bills introduced in the Senate, and 508 bills have been introduced in the House of Representatives. There were committee meetings for the local bills and education and general fund budget procedural items.
Although the budgets were not as plump as had initially been hoped and introduced by the Governor and the Legislature, the budgets from last year were resurrected with some modifications, and those were presented and passed. The Legislature had a rare Saturday session on May 9 to complete the process, and the budgets were sent to the Governor.
The Legislature is set to reconvene on May 18 to allow for any changes or issues that may arise while legislation is at the Governor’s office. May 18, 2020 is the last possible day of session as set forth by the Constitution.
As always, the Alabama State Bar encourages all members to be aware of legislation that may impact courts costs and fees. Several of the recently introduced local bills dealt with an increase of court costs or service of process fees in the following counties: Crenshaw, Escambia, Monroe and Washington. Please see our tracking above for those bills. Access to Justice is a priority. We encourage you to be informed.
After the close of session on May 18, 2020, we will provide a more comprehensive report as to legislation passed.
The regular session of the 2020 Legislative Session is proceeding as follows:
- The Senate has adjourned until Monday, May 18, 2020, at 1:00 p.m.
- The House has adjourned until Monday, May 18, 2020, at 1:00 p.m.