ARBA FINAL LEGISLATIVE REPORT 2021- Regular Session
SAVE THE DATE
2021 ARBA Convention - July 18-21
Omni Homestead - Hot Springs, VA.
The contract is being finalized and registration material will be out this week. Please make plans to join President Jeff Webb for this outstanding trip.
The 2021 Regular Session has adjourned Sine Die
The Alabama Legislature finished up their work on the 2021 Regular Session late last night. Among the many issues that were addressed included final passage of the conference committee report of the General Fund budget in the House. Chairman Steve Clause (R-Ozark) took it up early and walked the members through the changes, which included some $900,000 in additional funds from what had passed the senate earlier this session putting this year's budget at a record setting $2.4 billion. I recall when the General Fund budget passed the $1 billion mark during my tenure with Governor Fob James back in 1997. Much of the increase in expense can still be traced to three sources: Corrections, Medicaid, and healthcare expenses for state employees. Some things never change including the fact that the legislature could not figure out how to pass a lottery or gambling bill… again!
ARBA BILLS - While we did not pass the very important changes to our contractor liability law, we had a very successful session making this quadrennium one of the most successful in ARBA history.
Sales Tax Exemption PASSES — SB 99 by Sen. Tom Whatley (R-Auburn)/ HB 340 by Rep. David Faulkner (R-Birmingham) - This bill restores the sales tax exemption on materials to ALDOT projects saving millions.
Work Zone Safety PASSES - SB 4 by Sen. Allen (R-Tuscaloosa) was approved by the house and sent to the governor for her signature. This bill lumps all moving violations into one statute that raises the penalty for violations when workers are present to the greater of $250 or double the fine.
The bill, however, was returned with an executive amendment to make a technical correction caused by the passage of an expungement bill - SB 117, which put Alabama in violation of a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rule. They informed ALEA that passage of SB117, now Act 2021-286, put Alabama in violation of 49 CFR 384.226 that addresses masking of violations of those with a commercial drivers license. The penalty for this is 4% of federal funds the first year and up to 8% any subsequent years. According to 49 CFR 384.401, this would hit all Federal-aid highway funds including ALDOT's, not just ALEA. Our bill was used simply as a vehicle to correct this issue because there was not enough time in the session to introduce a new bill and our subject matter was sufficient to attach the language.
Indemnity PASSES- - SB 220 by Sen. Scofield (R-Guntersville) prohibits private parties to a road and bridge contract from requiring indemnification for their own errors and omissions. Thanks to our bill sponsors - Rep. McMillan (R-Bay Minette) and Sen. Scofield (R-Guntersville).
Contractor Liability WILL NOT PASS - SB 248 by Sen. Scofield (R-Guntersville) - It was anticipated that passing a bill this contentious was going to be a challenge and it proved to be true. I think the best takeaway is that the legislature and leadership have a much more keen understanding this issue and have pledged to keep pursuing common ground. Thank you to our bill sponsor, Senator Clay Scofield (R-Guntersville), for all his efforts on our behalf.