The Alabama State Bar provides legislative status reports concerning pending legislation that may be of interest to our members, with direct links to the actual legislation. The reports divide legislation into the following categories for your convenience: criminal, domestic relations, judicial, court costs, elections ethics and government relations (EEGR), civil/ general and tax.
Upon their return from Spring Break the Alabama Legislature slowly returned to work, going about the business of completing the second half of the 2021 Legislative session. There were filibusters and slow downs in both houses as the members settled back in. It was a two-day session week, with committee meetings scheduled throughout the day Wednesday. Next week is anticipated to be a three-day session week. As of yesterday, there have been 591 bills introduced in the House of Representatives and 383 bills introduced in the Senate.
Some of the new bills introduced this week include several related to parole reform, several changes to the income and sales tax laws, legislation changing some guardianship and conservatorship laws, more election law changes and legislation addressing a restructuring of judicial compensation.
Some bills debated in committee this week included the new Alabama Public Records Act. This legislation has been around for several years and is still a work in progress. However, conversations have been ongoing and it was passed out of committee. A bill restructuring judicial compensation, based on the recommendations of the Judicial Compensation Commission, was passed unanimously out of committee on Wednesday. This bill is the first real look at judicial compensation in Alabama in almost 20 years. Alabama currently ranks 52nd in the country as to the salaries of their trial court judges, according to the National Center for State Courts. Bills debated in House Judiciary committee this week included the passage of the Court Cost Commission legislation, as well as a relook at the Habitual Offender Law.
Other bills receiving passage this week include one involving the Governor and legislature’s powers during an emergency, as well as the much anticipated (at least according to all the lawyers who ask about it) direct shipment of wine legislation.
As always, the Alabama State Bar encourages all members to be aware of legislation that may impact court costs and fees. Access to justice is a priority. Please be aware of advertisements that may be occurring for local bills and those that may already be filed to use the courts as a fundraiser for non-court entities. We encourage you to be informed and notify us as well.
The regular session of the 2021 Legislative Session is proceeding as follows:
- The Senate has adjourned until Tuesday, April 6, 2021 at 2 p.m.
- The House has adjourned until Tuesday, April 6, 2021 at 1 p.m.