Weekly Legislative News Update

*Update* Gambling Legalization Attempt

Fails on Final Day of Session

*Status: On the final day of the 2024 Legislative Session, there was a push for gambling to come up for a Senate vote up until the very end. The Educational Trust Fund Budget was used in an apparent final attempt to leverage a vote. These attempts failed, and gambling expansion is dead for the 2024 Legislative Session*

On Tuesday (April 30th), the gambling Conference Committee produced two bills (HB151 & HB152). Shortly afterwards, the House easily passed those bills. Later on that same night, the Senate voted and the bills failed by 1 vote (20 “Yes” votes to 15 “No” votes; 21 was needed to pass). The Senate did not vote for a second time and now the Session is over.

Due to Democrat filibustering and the final push for gambling, several bills that ALCAP supported were on the Senate calendar for a vote but never received debate. These bills include HB111 (Defining Man and Woman in Alabama Law), HB167 (Porn Filter Bill), HB385 (Obscenity Bill), and HB195 (Sex Ed). Descriptions of these bills are below. To hear Greg Davis discuss the last day of the Legislative Session as it was happening, click here.

Greg Davis at Bill Signing

for Clergy Sex Abuse Law

On Wednesday (May 8th), ALCAP President Greg Davis was honored to be present as Gov. Kay Ivey signed the Clergy Sex Abuse Bill into Law with the bill’s sponsors: State Rep. Leigh Hulsey and State Sen. Rodger Smitherman.

This law now makes it unlawful for clergy in a position of trust or authority over a person to commit certain sex acts with an individual under 19 years of age, or a protected person under 22 years of age. Currently, the age of consent is 16. This also brings the law for clergy equal to the law for public and private school teachers. We are thankful to Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter for his leadership on this issue.

For information on the last days of the Legislative Session, listen to our Priority Talk Radio podcast episode here. To hear Greg Davis speak specifically on the bill signing, skip to 21:30.

*Update* Anti-Porn Bill in the Senate

*Status: This bill passed the House and its Senate committee but did not make it to the Senate floor for a vote*

State Representative Chris Sells sponsored a bill (HB167) that would’ve required phone manufacturers, as the default setting, to have a pornography filter turned on when activating a phone if the user is a minor. The filter could’ve been turned off by the user, but they would’ve needed to consciously do so with a password.

*Update* Pro-Life Legislation:

The Pregnancy Resource Act

*Status: This bill passed the House but did not pass its Senate committee*

Sponsored by State Rep. Jamie Kiel, the Pregnancy Resource Act (HB356) was filed once again in this year’s Legislative Session. This bill would’ve provided a state income tax credit to individuals and businesses that make contributions to eligible charitable organizations that operate as a pregnancy center or residential maternity facility. In short, this Act would’ve spurred financial support for the dozens of Pregnancy Resource Centers all across Alabama. Abortion is illegal in Alabama; these often underfunded and understaffed centers are tasked with providing both free and low-cost medical, educational, and support services to more women and men than ever before facing an unplanned pregnancy or sexual health concern. These services often include free pregnancy and STD testing and ultrasounds. These centers help to educate women who think that their only option is an abortion. This Act would’ve provided tax credits of up to 10 million dollars for the next five years. This is an example of pro-life legislation.

*Update* Sexual Risk Avoidance

in Sex Education

*Status: This bill passed the House and its Senate committee but did not make it to the Senate floor for a vote*

State Rep. Susan DuBose sponsored a bill (HB195) that would’ve helped improve our sex education in the state of Alabama. Currently, curricula or programs on the topic must emphasize that abstinence is the only effective protection against unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. In addition, “This [new] bill would require that any sex education or human reproductive curriculum or program in a public K-12 school to exclusively teach sexual risk avoidance and encourage the avoidance of any nonmarital sexual activity.

“This bill would further provide for the sex education and human reproductive curriculum or program in public K-12 schools, including the provision of information about state laws relating to the financial cost of pregnancy and child care, abortion, and adoption” (HB195).

The bill also would’ve prohibited the use of organizations that teach values that are contrary to what has been outlined above.

*Status: The Senate version of the bill passed the Senate and its House committee but did not make it to the House floor for a vote*

Almost every part of our society has chaplains. Why not schools? Listen to State Rep. Mark Gidley talk with ALCAP President and Priority Talk Radio Host Greg Davis about a bill he sponsored that would’ve allowed public schools to employ or accept volunteer chaplains (HB316). The Senate version of the bill, SB294 (sponsored by Sen. Smitherman), went further than its House counterpart but ultimately fell short of becoming law.

*Update* Defining “Male” and “Female”

in Alabama Law

*Status: This bill passed the House and its Senate committee but did not make it to the Senate floor for a vote*

Currently, Alabama law does not define “male” and “female.” House Bill 111, sponsored by State Rep. Susan DuBose, sought to codify biological definitions of “male,” “female,” “boy,” “girl,” and other similar terms in our state law. Among other ramifications, this would’ve allowed for women-only spaces that could be enforced by law.

This picture was taken just after HB111 passed the House: ALCAP President Greg Davis, Rep. Susan Dubose, and Eagle Forum’s Becky Gerritson.