Below you will find a report that outlines some of the highlights of the week. Additionally, at the end of this report, you will find a list of bills that we are tracking for you.
Alabama Legislative Report
February 12, 2021
Economic Development Incentives
Governor Ivey signed legislation this morning that would extend two important economic development programs to attract business to the state. HB192, sponsored by Representative Bill Poole and Senator Greg Reed, would renew the Alabama Jobs Act and extend the incentives through July 31, 2023. The bill would provide additional incentives for critical supply chain companies and underrepresented businesses. The Jobs Act cap will increase from $300 to $325 million in 2021 and $350 million in 2022. In addition, the bill will renew the recently expired Growing Alabama Act, which allows tax credits for contributions to economic development organizations. The cap for the Growing Alabama program will expand from $10 million to $20 million per year.
COVID Liability Protections
Governor Ivey signed legislation this morning that would provide civil liability protection for businesses and other entities in COVID-related lawsuits, provided the entity took proper COVID precautions. Senator Arthur Orr’s bill, SB30, would provide a safe harbor for many organizations unless reckless or intentional misconduct can be proven. The bill attempts to strike a balance between businesses impacted by the economic effects of the pandemic and front-line workers at risk of contracting the virus on the job.
COVID/Stimulus Tax Reform
Governor Ivey signed legislation this morning that would exempt federal COVID stimulus aid, including direct payments to individuals and loan forgiveness benefits to businesses under the Paycheck Protection Program, from state income taxes. HB170, sponsored by Representative Danny Garrett and Senator Dan Roberts, would not only apply to federal relief disbursed in 2020 but was amended to also include any federal relief approved in 2021. Additionally, HB170 makes a number of changes to the corporate tax income structure in the state, including the following:
The House unanimously passed legislation Thursday that would create a statewide permitting standard for 5G infrastructure deployment. Senator Arthur Orr’s “small cell” bill, SB76, would create a uniform permitting system throughout the state and a timeline for approval to expedite the rollout of 5G-related technology (small cells). SB76 was sent to Governor Ivey’s desk Thursday.
The Senate unanimously passed legislation Thursday that would appropriate an estimated $263 million in federal FY21 omnibus funding to administer the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The program is designed to assist eligible households unable to pay rent and utilities due to the pandemic. Representative Steve Clouse’s bill, HB231, was passed by the House last week and was sent to Governor Ivey’s desk Thursday.
Senator Del Marsh introduced legislation Thursday that would establish a statewide education lottery and five casinos with table games, sports betting and slot machines. The bill creates a lottery corporation and gaming commission. As drafted, state revenue generated by the gaming taxes and fees would be distributed primarily to the General Fund for the expansion of broadband and the provision of rural health/mental health services. The Senate began debate on SB214 but is not expected to vote until after next week’s break, which will allow time for Marsh to tailor the bill. A constitutional amendment approved by Alabama voters would be required to make the change.
Senator Marsh also introduced legislation Thursday intended to facilitate the expansion of broadband statewide. SB215 would create a new authority to oversee and implement the expansion of high-speed internet throughout the state. The authority would be responsible for administering state grant programs and would also have the authority to issue bonds of up to $250 million to finance eligible projects. Much like the gambling bill, SB215 was carried over until after next week’s break.
HB 0398 | Howard Sanderford
State General Fund, requirement for annual transfers from State Licensing Board for General Contractors, the Alabama Onsite Wastewater Board, the Alabama State Board of Respiratory Therapy, and the Alabama Board of Electrical Contractors removed, Secs. 34-8-25, 34-21A-6, 34-27B-6, 34-36-17 am'd.
Feb 10, 2021 - Read for the first time and referred to the House of Representatives committee on Ways and Means General Fund
House Committee: Ways and Means General Fund
SB 0224 | Donnie Chesteen
Electrical Contractors, Alabama Board of, board membership revised, board authorized to subpoena witnesses and investigate complaints, expiration of licenses, local business licenses texting deleted, Secs. 34-36-3, 34-36-4, 34-36-6, 34-36-7, 34-36-8, 34-36-9, 34-36-13, 34-36-16 am'd.
Feb 10, 2021 - Read for the first time and referred to the Senate committee on Governmental Affairs
Senate Committee: Governmental Affairs
SB 0220 | Clay Scofield
Highway, roads, and bridges, contracts or subcontracts for public works, provisions requiring a party to indemnify another party for damages caused by the other party prohibited
Feb 10, 2021 - Read for the first time and referred to the Senate committee on Transportation and Energy
Senate Committee: Transportation and Energy
HB 0384 | Jeff Sorrells
Feb 09, 2021 - Read for the first time and referred to the House of Representatives committee on Boards, Agencies and Commissions
House Committee: Boards, Agencies and Commissions
SB 0208 | Andrew Jones
Plumbers and Gas Fitters Examining Board, transferred to new chapter, definitions revised, registration of a principal master for one entity at a time, continuing education and emergency certificates authorized, Secs. 34-37A-1 to 34-37A-19, inclusive, added; Secs. 34-37-1 to 34-37-18, inclusive, repealed
Feb 09, 2021 - Read for the first time and referred to the Senate committee on Governmental Affairs
SB 0194 | Donnie Chesteen
Education Dept., state property, Dept. of Edu., has authority to manange the construction and renovation of property that is part of a state educational institution, Secs. 41-4-353, 41-4-400 am'd.
Feb 04, 2021 - Read for the first time and referred to the Senate committee on Governmental Affairs
HB 0281 | Victor Gaston
Income tax, historic structures, qualified rehabilitation, tax credits extended to 2029, admin. by Historical Commission, Secs. 40-9F-33, 40-9F-36 am'd.
Feb 02, 2021 - Read for the first time and referred to the House of Representatives committee on Ways and Means Education
House Committee: Ways and Means Education
HB 0220 | Nathaniel Ledbetter
Feb 10, 2021 - Pending third reading on day 6 Favorable from Education Policy
House Committee: State Government, Ways and Means Education
HB 0192 | William Poole
Economic development, job credit and investment credit for approved projects sunset date extended, incentives for attraction of new and expanding business including rural areas, incentives for high-tech companies Growing Alabama Act, Income tax, tax credits for use of state's port facilities, authorized, Sec. 40-18-376.4 added; Secs. 40-18-370, 40-18-375, 40-18-376.3, 40-18-382, 40-18-383, 40-18-400, 40-18-403 am'd.
Feb 11, 2021 - Delivered to Governor at 11:42 a.m. on February 11, 2021.
HB 0121 | Reed Ingram
Lead reduction, revise authority of Dept of Public Health to administer program, Secs. 22-37A-2 to 22-37A-7, inclusive, am'd.
Feb 02, 2021 - Read for the first time and referred to the House of Representatives committee on Health
House Committee: Health
SB 0109 | Garlan Gudger
Competitive bidding, awarding authority allowed to negotiate lowest bidder when all bids exceed available funding, Sec. 39-2-6 am'd.
Feb 11, 2021 - Read for the first time and referred to the House of Representatives committee on State Government
House Committee: State Government
SB 0060 | Will Barfoot
Public contracts, contracts for heating and air conditioning systems, exemption further provided, Sec. 39-2-2 am'd.
Feb 09, 2021 - Engrossed
SB 0034 | Will Barfoot
Feb 02, 2021 - Read for the first time and referred to the Senate committee on Governmental Affairs