As the 2017 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature enters its final days, this past week was uneventful concerning the issues being monitored by ALCAP.
Several local Sunday alcohol sales bills passed out of committees and/or one or both of the two chambers, but most of the week was focused on the General Fund Budget and the Education Trust Fund Budget.
The House wasted two days this week on redistricting. The courts ordered that the redistricting plan passed in 2012 was unacceptable after African-American legislators protested that too much gerrymandering had occurred, so new district lines are being drawn and passed in both the Senate and the House. A House member called for a complete reading of the bill that details the redistricting plan for the House districts, and since the bill is over 500 pages, it took the reading machine several hours on Tuesday and almost 12 hours on Thursday to read through the entire bill. The House then voted at 9:50 p.m. Thursday night to pass the legislation. They spent the remainder of the evening (until adjournment at midnight), voting on other bills. Each bill was filibustered and they had to vote to cloture each filibuster.
The Senate was a little more active, but no ALCAP-monitored bills were debated. We are concerned that this upcoming week (the last week of the session) may see the Daily Fantasy Sports bill (HB354) being brought to the floor of the Senate for a vote. Please contact your State Senator before Tuesday and ask him/her to vote NO on HB354 if it comes up for a vote.
We are also waiting for HB277, the “Child Care Bill,” to come to the Senate for debate. The bill has been amended so that it provides protections for children while also protecting religious freedom for churches, so we are now encouraging passage of the amended bill.
The leadership in the House and Senate have said that they may end the session on Thursday, but they reserve the option of coming back on Friday if necessary. The Constitution limits the legislature to 30 legislative days within a 105-day period, but they are not required to meet for 30 days.
Continue to pray for our legislators and Governor Ivey during this last week of the 2017 Legislative Session.