2023 Legislative Session: March 21-23
Published on March 27, 2023
On Tuesday, March 21, the Alabama Legislature returned to truly begin the 2023 Regular Session. You’ll recall, legislators gaveled in for the first day of session on March 7. The following day, they adjourned for an almost two-week Special Session, called by Governor Ivey, to focus on the final American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.
The first full week of the Regular Session was busy, with 221 new bills introduced in the House of Representatives and 145 bills introduced in the Senate, as well as 24 committee meetings held this week. Since it is the first year of the new quadrennium, and over 30-percent of the members are new, there are typically more bills filed during this cycle than others.
As a reminder, the session is limited to 30 legislative days within a 105 day period. There are 35 Senators and 105 members of the House of Representatives. Of those, 18 are lawyers.
A few bills of interest to the legal community include several proposals to create judgeships. One creates three judgeships: one in Madison County, one in Baldwin County, and one in the Autauga, Chilton, and Elmore County circuit. The other proposal is a three-year plan, over which time there would be circuit judgeships added in the 11th (Lauderdale), 19th (Autauga, Chilton, and Elmore), and 28th (Baldwin) Circuits, and district judgeships added in Baldwin and DeKalb counties in 2024. In 2025, there would be circuit judgeships added in the 6th (Tuscaloosa), 23rd (Madison), and 37th (Lee) Circuits as well as district judgeships added in Mobile County and Shelby County. In 2026, there would be circuit judgeships added in the 19th (Autauga, Chilton, and Elmore) and 28th (Baldwin) Circuits and a district judgeship in Madison.
There are numerous criminal bills addressing fentanyl, good time laws, guns, and many other aspects of criminal law. Please see the criminal tracking for a complete list. There are also bills dealing with adoption, dram shop liability, speed racing, and tax issues, including an occupational tax. Several pieces of legislation dealing with domestic relations may also be found in the tracking list below. Legislation addressing the payment of attorneys for work done during the commitment process in probate court has been passed out of committee and is moving. A bill to help streamline the adoption process also moved out of committee and the House this week.
Additionally, a bill titled the Colby Act was passed out of committee in the House and the Senate which allows for supported decision-making. It will be another tool to help people live more independently who may otherwise have only had the option of conservatorships and guardianships. Forms are included with the legislation to help as well.
There is one local bill in Limestone County to increase court costs through a service of process fee.
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, elections ethics and government relations (EEGR), civil/ general and tax.
You can find our comprehensive updated bill-tracking spreadsheet here
The legislature will not be meeting next week. The Regular Session of the legislature continues as follows:
- The Senate has adjourned until Tuesday, April 4 at 2:30 p.m.
- The House has adjourned until Tuesday, April 4 at 1:00 p.m.