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Legislative Update - Week 8

This week completed the 15th and 16th legislative days. That means they have passed the halfway point, though some believe they won't use the full 30 legislative day allotment. We hosted our second CLAS Hill Day on Tuesday, 10 CLAS members participated in school safety discussions with a few members of the House of Representatives, and the budget with Sen. Arthur Orr, Senate ETF Budget Chairman. At the State House CLAS members continued to give their legislators feedback on pending legislation. It was a very successful day, and great to see relationships established, and others continue to grow. Pictures from both CLAS Hill Days can be found on CLAS’s Facebook page or click here to view photos.

Bills in Committee:

SB148 – (Sen. Cam Ward) House and Senate Judiciary Committee Meeting

A joint public hearing was held Tuesday in the House chamber to discuss this legislation that seeks changes to Alabama’s juvenile justice system. Judges, probation officers, district attorneys and others who work in the juvenile justice system expressed their concerns with the legislation and made suggestions. The bill sponsor, Sen. Ward, recognizes this bill is work in progress. No vote was taken.

SB202 (Sen. Bussman) Bus Bill Public Hearing

Before the public hearing began, it was announced that the bill, as passed out of the Senate, was not the intent of Sen. Bussman. Therefore, the bill was not to move forward in its current form. Opponents were allowed to speak, but were asked to speak about transportation issues and solutions to fix those issues. Discussions are still ongoing about how to fund transportation.   

HB31 (Rep. Crawford) - County Superintendents

County superintendents shall devote his or her entire time to public school business, unless authorized to engage in outside employment by the county board of education and would remove the limit on annual travel expenses for certain county superintendents of education.

The bill received a favorable report.

SB280 (Sen. Brewbaker) – County Superintendent Required to be Appointed

Under existing law, a county superintendent of education may be elected if authorized under a local law or amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901. This bill would require all county superintendents to be appointed by the county board of education. The bill received a favorable report.

SB292 (Sen. Hightower) – Combine ETF and General Fund Budget

A public hearing was called for Tuesday, after last week’s hearing was cancelled. CLAS was ready to speak against the bill, but the public hearing was cancelled for the second time. The bill was carried over, and will be not placed on the agenda again.

HB264 (Clouse) - Attendance City Boards of Education

The bill deletes city public school code that specifies that children, between six and 19 years of age on the date school opens, are entitled to admission to city public schools and allows city schools to use the provision applicable to all public schools that require children between the ages of 6 and 17 years to attend public school. This bill simply cleans up language, both city and county public schools attendance laws would be the same. The bill received a favorable report from Education Policy Committee on Thursday.

HB447 (Rep. Collins) – Alabama Taskforce on School Safety and Security

CLAS amended the bill to add a principal as a member of the taskforce. The bill creates the taskforce and requires the task force to annually study the education and safety laws, rules, and policies of the state, and make legislative recommendations to the Legislature when necessary. The Education Policy Committee gave the bill a favorable report as amended.

HB452 (Rep. Farley) – Under existing law, a juvenile court is required to notify the superintendent of the school district when a child is found delinquent and may notify the superintendent when a child is found delinquent for committing any other crime. This bill allows a juvenile probation officer to share any information or records relating to a child, excluding mental health and medical records, with school personnel for limited purposes of promoting public safety and safety of a child; provides that all shared information must remain confidential; provides limited immunity; revises crime of possessing deadly weapon on school property.

 

An amendment was added to put more limitation on the information shared in the notice provided by the juvenile probation officer (JPO). The notice provided by the JPO shall contain only the offense(s), enumerated by the appropriate code section and a brief description of the allegations. Included in the notice is language prohibiting the disclosure or use of certain identifying information to other persons, and a statement that any information released may not be placed in the child’s permanent file or attached to his or her school records. Also adds, that once the superintendent or principal receives the written notice and wishes to obtain more records, reports, or information, they must request information from the juvenile court judge.

SB26 (Sen. Chambliss) and HB413 (Rep. Beckman) Juvenile Sex Offenders

Notification provided to school of low-risk sex offender expanded to included local superintendent of education, school is required to report to local law enforcement, state board of education required to develop and local board of education to adopt a model policy for monitoring juvenile sex offenders in school. The bills received a favorable report as substituted from the House Education Policy Committee.

Bills Passed the Senate:

SB181 (Sen. Dial)

A constitutional amendment which would provide that property belonging to the state may be used the display the Ten Commandments and can be displayed on public school property.

SB21 and SB215 (Sen. Dial) 13th Check

SB21 is for TRS retirees and SB215 is for ERS retirees. Both were substituted on the Senate floor. Instead of a flat $400 check, retirees in both systems will receive a $1 per month for each year of service with no cap. The bill as substituted would provide the bonus for FY18 only. The projected cost for TRS retirees is $24 - $34 million and for ERS retirees is $3.5 - $8.9 million. The bill now goes to the House Ways and Means Education Committee for consideration. 

Bills Passed the House:

HB194 (Rep. Weaver) and HB202 (Rep. Weaver) relating to the pallative end of life individual health plans, and palliative end of life individual health plan to be used in a school setting both passed the House Tuesday without a single question. The bills now go to the Senate for consideration.  

HB261 (Rep. Lovvorn)

This bill creates the Alabama Math and Science Teacher Education Program and authorizes ACHE to administer the loan repayment awards to eligible public-school math and science teachers in underserved areas of Alabama. The bill is referred to the Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee.

HB356 (Rep. Boyd)

Bill allows the administration of autoinjectable epinephrine on K-12 school campuses by students. If the bill were passed it would be named the Kyle Graddy Act.

Bills Introduced:

HB470 (Rep. Scott) – Simplified Sellers Use Tax Remittance Program

In 2015, the Legislature created the Simplified Sellers Use Tax (SSUT). It allows online sellers with no stores in Alabama to voluntarily collect an 8 percent use tax on sales to Alabama customers. The use tax is the sales tax on out-of-state purchases. The SSUT provided a way for Alabama to capture tax dollars lost as more customers are making their retail purchases online. The state collected $56 million from the SSUT during the 2017 budget year. Half of the money goes to the state, while counties and cities split the other half, allocated by population.

This bill updates the conditions of remote entity nexus to allow an out-of-state vendor with physical presence established only through acquisition of an in-state company the ability to participate in the Simplified Sellers Use Tax Program. This bill clarifies certain sales of tangible personal property cannot be reported under the program and are subject to sales tax. This bill establishes a marketplace facilitator filing and remitting program. This bill provides that a marketplace facilitator is required to collect and remit simplified sellers use tax on transactions made by or on behalf of third party marketplace sellers or be subject to information reporting requirements.  This bill would levy an additional one percent (1%) simplified sellers use tax and provide for the distribution.

SB350 (Sen. Smitherman) – Education Retirees COLA Trust Fund

This bill would create a separate fund in the State Treasury known as the COLA Trust Fund for  the Teachers' Retirement System serving as a permanent trust and as an investment account for the earnings and funds received in the fund for the purpose of providing education retirees with cost-of-living adjustments.

NEXT WEEK

We expect the budgets to be discussed.

Committee Meetings:

SB148 (Sen. Ward) and HB225 (Rep. Hill) Juvenile Justice Revisions, include provisions relating to the juvenile justice system substantially revised; adoption of policies for absenteeism and school misconduct required; and Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Fund created. SB148 will be in Senate Judiciary committee at 1:00 in room 325 and HB225 will be in House Judiciary at 1:30 in room 200.  

 

Convene Report - The House will convene Tuesday, March 6, at 1:00 p.m. and the Senate at 2:00 p.m. the same day.