ARBA Legislative Update 4-9-21

13 Apr 2021 9:36 AM | Lexie Larson (Administrator)

**Construction material costs** - With steel having increased nearly 140% in 2021, we need to hear from you on the inflation impact of steel and other construction materials.  Please email Tom Layfield with examples of construction material issues you are experiencing.

LOTTERY — The two-bill state lottery package by Sen. Jim McClendon (R—Springville) dominated the Senate on Wednesday.  After lengthy and occasionally contentious floor debate, the Senate passed SB 320 to establish the Alabama Lottery Commission, direct the majority of proceeds to the Education Trust Fund for scholarships and other programs and phase out the state sales tax on groceries.  SB320 is dependent on SB319, which sets up a statewide referendum on the lottery question. The Senate adopted the Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee’s substitute to SB 319 but did not vote final passage due to concerns that the votes were not there to pass it. SB319 is currently carried over to the call of the chair.

ELECTION REFORMS — With much national attention on Georgia election reform bill, here is a list of the election bills here in Alabama:

• Last-minute changes to election law would be prohibited under HB 388 by Rep. Jim Carns (R—Birmingham). Subject to a statewide referendum, Carns’ bill, which passed the House Wednesday, would prevent changes to state election law within six months of a general election. The companion bill – SB326 by Sen. Dan Roberts (R—Birmingham) – passed the Senate Thursday.

• In the six months before an election, the governor could not change how the election is conducted by executive order, with certain exceptions, according to HB351 by Rep. Arnold Mooney (R—Birmingham). The House Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee gave it a favorable report as substituted on Wednesday.

• If HB 528 by Rep. Allen Farley (R—McCalla) becomes law, relatives of the probate judge, sheriff or circuit clerk could not serve on the appointing board in some situations, and individuals could not serve as absentee election manager if they or a relative are in a contested race. The bill received a favorable report Wednesday from the House Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee.

• Poll watchers would be prohibited from assisting an individual with voting if HB575 by Rep. Mike Holmes (R—Wetumpka) becomes law. The measure received a favorable report Wednesday from the House Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee.

•  After Alabamians cast record numbers of absentee ballots in 2020, HB538 by Rep. Alan Baker (R—Brewton) would revise the timeline for requesting a ballot and other rules related to absentee ballots. The Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee voted unanimously to give it a favorable report on Wednesday.

• Campaign finance filings would all be electronic and would be consolidated in the secretary of state’s office under HB 154 by Rep. Andy Whitt (R—Harvest), which received a favorable report this week from the Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee.

• A curbside voting ban received a favorable report from the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee this week.  HB285 is by Rep. Wes Allen (R—Troy).  

• Payment for proof of voting would be illegal under HB70 by Rep. Jamie Kiel (R—Russellville), which has a pending committee amendment.  The bill is scheduled floor consideration in the House on Tuesday.  

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