On Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2022, the Alabama Legislature returned from its two-week special session that determined distribution of the American Rescue Plan Act monies. Legislators had a busy three days of session, which included 17 committee meetings on Wednesday before session began that afternoon. For the first time since the pandemic began, there was a sense of normalcy in and around the statehouse and in committee meetings. By the conclusion of the week, 189 bills had been introduced in the Senate and 274 bills in the House of Representatives.
Legislation introduced this week addresses changes to the service of garnishments and changes to parole structures and oversight. There were also bills involving broadband, elections, proposals on education standards and choices, the creation of an elder abuse registry, changes to ignition interlock laws allowing for the use of advanced technology, and alimony changes.
In committee this week, lawmakers brought up legislation on the concealed carry of guns, changes to the involuntary commitment process, elimination of the drivers license suspension in certain circumstances, and exemptions from state income tax as to certain ARPA funds.
Of special interest to lawyers, there are now two bills creating additional judgeships in Alabama. There are also two bills creating additional court costs. In Cherokee County, there is a bill to create an additional service of process fee, and in Mobile County, an additional court cost is being proposed as well.
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 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.
The regular session of the 2022 Legislative Session is proceeding as follows:
- The Senate has adjourned until Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022.
- The House has adjourned until Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022.