It was a marathon week at the Alabama State House. Three session days turned into four before lawmakers finally adjourned around 2:00 a.m. this morning. Committee meetings and conference meetings were happening in between and sometimes during session as the Constitutional time allotted for session nears its end. There are only three possible legislative days remaining. To date, there have been 523 bills introduced in the House of Representatives and 352 bills introduced in the Senate.
The introduction of bills slowed to a trickle, and most of the new bills had local application. There was a push to move bills from their house of origin as it would be the last opportunity to do so. All bills not out of their original house are now dead because it takes a minimum of five legislative days to pass a bill.
The committee schedule was packed, and meetings were full of debate as legislators pushed their bills to the finish line. The education and general fund budgets, which totaled over $15 billion, both went to committee, passed favorably, were debated, and then sent to conference for resolution before being voted on and sent to the Governor. This package also included a cost of living adjustment, or COLA, for all state employees as well as a rebate to Alabamians. The reduction of the sales tax on groceries also moved out of committee and the House of Representatives this week. The legislation to increase the caps for Guardians ad litem received final passage as well.
Legislation that passed out of committee this week included a bill that makes changes to the notary law and another bill that relates to certain persons sentenced under the habitual offender. There was also a local service of process bill introduced for Marion County (HB508.)
There are currently local bills in Marion, Marshall, Lamar, Cullman, Shelby, Pickens, Limestone and Blount counties to increase court costs. Several bills moved this week, so please check the tracking for up-to-date information on legislation concerning your areas of practice.
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: civil/general, court costs, criminal, domestic relations, elections ethics and government relations (EEGR), judicial, and tax.
- The House and Senate have both adjourned until Wednesday, May 31.