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The 2019 Legislative Session is nearing the end. This week, the legislature completed days 19, 20, and 21 with 9 legislative days remaining in the session. 

Bills Sent to Governor for Signature:

  • HB41 (Stringer) Vaping Bill - Prohibits alternative nicotine product retailers and manufacturers from advertising alternative nicotine products around schools and churches. A senate judiciary committee amendment was adopted, which released restrictions on advertising to make the bill constitutional.
  • HB339 (Ledbetter) Pledge of Allegiance – requires that the pledge of allegiance to the United States flag be conducted at the beginning of each school day in the public K-12 schools of the state and the students can voluntarily recite the pledge. An amendment was added to say a student who refuses to recite the pledge may not be punished or penalized for that refusal.
Bills that Passed the House:

  • HB32 (Boyd) Kyle Graddy Act – Allows the administration of single dose autoinjectable epinephrine on K-12 school campuses by students. Passed the House and referred to the Senate Education Policy committee.

  • HB209 (Pettus) School Resource Officers - This bill would provide that if a local board of education hires a retired law enforcement officer to serve as school security personnel, the board may authorize the retired law enforcement officer to carry a firearm on duty if he or she meets the following requirements: (1) is retired in good standing from a federal, state, or local law enforcement agency with at least 20 years of law enforcement experience; (2) has successfully completed active shooter training approved by the Alabama State Law Enforcement Agency; (3) annually completes and passes the firearm re-qualification required of law enforcement officers by the Alabama Peace Officers' Standards and Training Commission; and (4) is trained in the appropriate use of a non-lethal weapon and while on duty carries that weapon. Amendments were added to allow for retired law enforcement workers to be hired and that all law enforcement officers would complete specialized training to work with youth. The bill passed the House and referred to the Senate Education Policy committee.

  • HB388 (Collins) Alabama Literacy Act – The bill was substituted on the House floor Wednesday and passed. This bill would implement steps to improve the reading proficiency of public school kindergarten to third grade students and ensure that every student completing the third grade is able to read at or above grade level. According to the fiscal note, the State Department of Education estimates that the provisions of the bill would cost approximately $90 million annually to implement. Click here to read the entire fiscal note.

  • HB462 (Easterbrook) Public High School Career Tech Facilities - local boards of education authorized to use any available facilities board determines better suited than existing facilities, notwithstanding State Building Code or other building codes. Passed House and referred to the Senate committee on Education Policy.

Bills that Passed the Senate:

  • SB397 (Marsh) Board Governance -  Passed the Senate Thursday with a 30-0 vote. The bill would replace the current elected State Board of Education with the Alabama Commission on Elementary and Secondary Education, members of which will be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the State Senate; would abolish the State Superintendent position and replace it with a Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education, appointed by the commission and subject to confirmation by the Senate. As a constitutional amendment, SB 397 (if passed by the Alabama legislature) would need to be approved by the people of the state in a referendum. This would occur on the March 2020 primary election date.

  • SB398 (Marsh) Governor consult with Minority Caucuses passed the Senate Wednesday. Both SB397 and SB398 move the House Ways & Means Education committee. Governor Ivey supports both pieces of legislation, see her statement released yesterday here.
Committee Meetings: 

  • HB423 (Warren) Kindergarten Bill – The bill received a favorable report as substituted from House Education Policy Committee. The substitute would require a child who is five years of age on or before September 1 to enroll in kindergarten and would provide for circumstances under which a child who is under five years of age on September 1 may be admitted to public kindergarten.

  • SB220 (Albritton) Alabama Lottery – The bill received a favorable report from the House Economic Development and Tourism committee as substituted and amended. The bill proposes a constitutional amendment to authorize the establishment of an Alabama Lottery to include the sale of paper tickets for intrastate and multi-state games and instant tickets. The Alabama Lottery is projected to generate an estimated $166.7 million annually after the payment of prizes and the expenses of administering and operating the Alabama Lottery. One quarter of one percent of the balance of the proceeds remaining after the payments shall be set apart to fund programs that aid compulsive gambling. The balance of the proceeds after payments shall be distributed as follows: 75 percent of the lottery proceeds shall be distributed to the General Fund annually and 25 percent shall be distributed to the Education Trust Fund. This would increase annual receipts to the General Fund by an estimated $124.7 million and to the Education Trust Fund by an estimated $41.6 million.

  • HB449 (Gray) Yoga Bill – The bill received a favorable report from House Education Policy Committee. Under existing law, instruction in yoga is specifically prohibited in Alabama public schools. This bill would authorize local boards of education to offer yoga to students in grades K to 12.

  • SB14 (Melson) Allow Elective Bible Courses - Received a favorable report from Education Policy Committee. The bill allows public schools to offer elective courses focusing on the study of the Bible and religious history in grades six to 12; to allow public schools to display artifacts, monuments, symbols, and texts related to the study of the Bible and religious history if displaying these items is appropriate to the overall educational purpose of the course; and to require the State Board of Education to adopt rules and policies to implement the requirements of the bill.

  • HB72 (McCampbell) Failing School Terminology – The bill would change designation of failing school to challenged school, nonfailing school to a nonchallenged school. The bill received a favorable report from the House Education Policy committee.

  • SB288 (Smitherman) Retirees – A one-time lump sum of $400 was substituted on the Senate Floor and changed to a conditional appropriation.

  • HB159 (Lee) Bathroom Bill – Received a favorable report as amended from Senate Education Policy Committee. The adopted amendment includes private schools and changes “toilets” to “plumbing fixtures” giving local schools some flexibility through the plumbing code. The bill reduces the required number of restroom fixtures at public high school sports stadiums for each sex based on seating occupancy.

  • HB216 (Faulkner) Computer Science - The bill received a favorable report from the Senate Education Policy committee. The bill applies to K-12 schools, required a phase in of computer science courses, funding for teacher training and certification provided, State Administer position created within Dept. of Education, ACHE to create scholarships for pre-service teachers, and Computer Science Education task force created.

  • HB506 (Estes) Emergency Certificate – The bill received a favorable report from Senate Education Policy committee – The bill extends the length of time for which an emergency certificate is valid from one to two years, with the ability of being renewed once, for a maximum validity of four years.

  • HB566 (Kitchens) Food Donations – The bill received a favorable report as amended from House Education Policy committee. Public K-12 school nutrition to provide that a public-school district may allow its schools to donate surplus non-expired food to a charitable organization for the purpose of redistributing the food to needy students participating in the federal school nutrition programs for consumption at the school or off school grounds.
Bills Introduced and Added to Tracking:

  • HB616 (Reed) Allow Elective Bible Courses – The bill allows grades 6-12 to have elective courses on the study of the bible and provides immunity for teachers who teach in good faith with proper historical context.

  • HB621 (Pringle) – Exempt Sales Tax from Food – The bill would exempt sales of food from the sales and use taxes beginning September 1, 2020.

  • SB411 (Reed) Advertising on School Buses – The bill would allow local boards of education to see advertising space on school buses. The advertising may not do any of the following:
  1. Interfere with the effectiveness of any required reflective materials or warning equipment.
  2. Be located above or on the windows of the school bus.
  3. Be located behind the front wheel to the front of the back wheel.
  4. Be located behind the back wheel to the end of the bus.

Next Week:

Again, the legislators are scheduled for a busy, long three-day work week, with significant legislation being discussed in the House and Senate. CLAS is informed of the following:

  • Tuesday, we expect to see the ETF Budget in the House Ways & Means Education Committee, with a vote on Wednesday, and on the floor by Thursday.
  • SB220 (Albritton) Alabama Lottery is first bill on House Special Order Calendar Tuesday.
  • HB152 (Clouse) General Fund Budget could be debated on the Senate floor sometime next week. Note: The General Fund came out of Senate F&TE committee with half of the CHIPs funding ($17.5 million) in the budget.

Convene Report:
The House will convene for the 22nd legislative day on Tuesday, May 21 at 1:00 and the Senate at 3:30 the same day.