2023 Legislative Update - Week One
Published on March 13, 2023
On Tuesday, Mar. 7, 2023, the Alabama Legislature commenced its first session of the new quadrennium. The legislature begins anew every four years, following the November elections of all 140 members. There was a lot of turnover, and one-third of legislators are new. Of the 140 members, 18 are lawyers.
Typically, the first week of a new quadrennium has a chaotic start with the introduction of hundreds of bills. However, on the first day this year, the Governor paused the regular session to call a special session to allocate the American Relief Protection Act (ARPA) funds. A special session is restricted to the subjects in the governor’s proclamation and is limited to 12 legislative days within a 30-calendar-day span. Anything not in the “call” requires a higher two-thirds vote to be enacted. So, the legislature will be in session next week, but only to address the one-time, restricted ARPA monies.
Before the special session started on Wednesday, which paused the regular session, there were 174 bills introduced. Of those, 109 were introduced in the House of Representatives and 65 in the Senate. These are just a preview of what to expect once the regular session begins again.
The bills introduced dealt with criminal matters such as sentencing, what constitutes “good time,” pardons and paroles, and gun laws. Legislation was also filed addressing the fundamental right of parents. In addition, there were numerous bills relating to tax issues, local bills, occupational taxes, and land bank authorities, as well as changes to the Uniform Trust Code, guardianships, and conservatorships. Please see the links to the tracking below for the complete list.
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 regular session of the legislature is paused pending completion of the special which will reconvene as follows:
- The Senate has adjourned until Tuesday, Mar. 14 at 3:30 p.m.
- The House has adjourned until Tuesday, Mar. 14 at 1:00 p.m.