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It was a three-day work week and the Alabama Legislature completed days 5, 6, 7. The past two weeks education related bills have flown through the legislative process. Bills have been introduced on Tuesday, passed out of committee on Wednesday, and receive final passage by Thursday. We are staying alert and our heads are on a constant swivel monitoring bills, and the impact on education. I am sure there will be many more three-day work weeks like the past two.

Thank you to all of our members for your hard work and reaching out to lawmakers expressing your concerns and sharing facts and stories relating to bills impacting education. Please continue to watch for Legislative Action Alerts throughout the session, if you see an Action Alert read it, and contact your lawmakers. We need to make education professionals’ voices heard. Keep up the great work!

Bills Introduced and Added to CLAS Tracking:

  • HB291 by Rep. Garrett – Alabama Released Time Credit Act – Authorizes the local board of education to allow released time for religious instruction off campus for elective credit.
  • HB294 by Rep. Poole – A constitutional amendment – this bill changes the statutory meeting dates of the legislature to provide for biennial budget periods for all budgets of the state. A biennial budget last two years, any funding initiated by the budget is covered for a two-year period. The bill provides for an annual general session for non-budgetary matters beginning in January and is limited to 20 legislative days and 70 calendar days, followed by a fiscal session beginning in April which is limited to 12 legislative days and 35 calendar days. While in fiscal session the legislature shall consider only bills making appropriations for the two succeeding fiscal years. The proposed constitutional amendment will go to the people for a vote.
  • HB295 by Rep. Poole – this bill changes the statutory meeting dates of the legislature as stated in HB294 and is contingent upon the approval in referendum of the constitutional amendment proposed by HB294.
  • HB296 by Rep. Poole – Under current law the fiscal year of the state begins on October 1 and ends of September 30. This bill would change the beginning of the fiscal year for the State of Alabama to July 1 of each year, starting with the 2022 fiscal year which is to begin July 1, 2021. The bill provides for a nine-month implementation fiscal year from October 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021; and authorize the Governor to promulgate procedures necessary to implement this act.
  • HB318 by Rep. Scott – Relating to Simplified Sellers Use Tax (SSUT), modifies certain definitions; clarifies when certain taxes can or cannot be remitted and provides for adjustments to SSUT. The bill is assigned to House Ways and Means General Fund Committee.
  • HB322 by Rep. Hall – exempts sales and use tax on food beginning in September 1, 2019.
  • HB339 by Rep. Ledbetter - This bill would require 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.
  • SB192 by Sen. Orr - Public education employees, Pay Raise, including K-12 and certain other designated education institutions.
  • SB195 by Sen. Orr – Education Trust Fund supplemental appropriation
  • SB196 by Sen. Orr - Appropriations, supplemental appropriations for fiscal year ending September 30, 2019, from the Education Trust Fund Advancement and Technology Fund to various school systems and colleges and universities, and other entities.
  • SB199 by Sen. Orr - Education budget, appropriations for the support, maintenance, and development of public education.
  • SB214 by Sen. Allen - Motor vehicles, school and church buses, special stops required when approaching, criminal penalties for violations, further penalties for causing death or bodily injury.
  • SB218 by Sen. Albritton - Relating to simplified sellers use tax; to modify certain definitions; to clarify when certain taxes can or cannot be remitted; and to provide for adjustments to simplified sellers use tax.
  • SB220 by Sen. Albritton - Alabama Lottery established, distribution of proceeds provided, constitutional amendment.
  • SB237 by Sen. Ward – Open Meetings Act Revised - Relating to public records; to establish the Alabama Open Records Act; to provide a process for access to public records; to provide procedures for making and responding to requests for access; to establish fees; to create the Office of the Public Access Counselor in the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts; to provide for his or her appointment, powers, and duties; to establish an appeals process and provide administrative and judicial remedies; to provide civil penalties for noncompliance; and to repeal Section 36-12-40, Code of Alabama 1975.

Committee Meetings:

  • HB132 sponsored by Rep. Hill - Juvenile Justice Reform - would implement recommendation of the Alabama Juvenile Justice Task Force from 2018 and would substantially revise provisions relating to juvenile justice system; would expand early intervention prior to court involvement; would require development of a statewide detention risk assessment tool for pre-adjudication detention decisions and would establish standards for informal adjustments for certain youth; would provide for video detention hearings under certain conditions; would remove assessment of fines or court costs against children under certain conditions while maintaining the ability to assess them against the parents of those children; would provide risk and needs assessment tools to aid courts in determining when placement in the Department of Youth Services is necessary; would require local boards of education to inform parents of services available relating to absenteeism and other school-related misconduct and would require the Alabama Department of Education to require each local board of education to annually develop, approve, and submit multi-disciplinary agreements in collaboration with community stakeholders relating to appropriate responses to school-based offenses.

    Rep. Jim Hill was a Juvenile Judge in St. Clair County for 10 years. He wants to reduce the number of kids in DYS for non-felony offenses ex. Truancy. Rep. Hill would like for every school system to develop an Early Warning Program. When kids approach a certain number of absences, the school system is allowed to bring the student and parents in for informal adjustments (talks with the juvenile judge). Rep. Hill did informal adjustments in St. Clair County and wants to replicate what he did, but know not every juvenile judge feels the same way Rep. Hill does, some judges don’t want their authority to be limited.

    On Wednesday, the bill received a favorable report from the House Judiciary Committee, but the bill received several amendments and the sponsor said the bill is far from being up for a vote on the House floor. Thanks to members who have sent us their concerns about this bill, continue to send us your thoughts on the bill.
  • HB191 by Rep. Fridy - A constitutional amendment to provide that every parent has a fundamental right to direct the upbringing, education, care, and custody of his or her children. This bill received a favorable report from Children and Senior Advocacy Committee.
  • SB116 by Sen. McClendon – The Alabama Lottery Act -creates the Alabama Lottery Corporation, authorizes distribution of revenues for college scholarships. Proceeds shall be split 50% to ETF and 50% to the State General Fund.  The bill shall be implemented only upon ratification by the voters of Alabama of the Constitutional Amendment as contained in SB130 of the 2019 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature.
  • SB130 sponsored by McClendon – Alabama Lottery Act - Constitutional Amendment provide powers and duties of the Alabama Lottery Commission; provide for use of lottery proceeds (shall be split 50% to State General Fund and 50% to ETF); levy and allocate a state gross receipts tax on gaming revenue; levy and allocate a local gross receipts tax on gaming revenue; levy and allocate a tax on vendors of video lottery equipment; provide for the disposition of state gaming tax proceeds; and provide limitations on  retailers. Allows for video lottery.
  • SB140 by Sen. Whatley – Sex Education - would revise the focus of the content, course materials, and instruction provided to public school students in any program or curriculum that includes sex education or the human reproductive process.
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House Ways & Means Education Committee meeting was held on Wednesday. Two major TRS retirement benefit bills were on the agenda. HB77 “Teacher Recruitment & Retention Act and HB21 “PLOP”. We (AEA, SSA, AASB, and CLAS) knew ahead of time that HB77, Teacher Recruitment and Retention Act, was only a presentation and discussion of the bill, no vote was taken. The bill sponsor for both bills, Rep. Baker, laid a good foundation to advance HB77 in the future. Education association representatives, including CLAS Executive Director, Dr. Wilson, testified before the committee. Each person cited facts about the current Tier 2 benefit, Alabama’s teacher shortage, and increased teacher absentee rates. Rep. Poole, committee chairman, requested more data be gathered before the committee meeting next Wednesday, so the committee could make a well-informed decision about the bill.

In the meantime, CLAS wants you to contact YOUR House member and tell them why they should support HB77. The Teacher Recruitment and Retention Act is one piece that will help the education profession with the teacher shortage. Here is a talking point sheet and click here to find your representative.

Bills Passed in the House

  • HB21 by Rep. Baker – PLOP – Partial lump sum option plan, provides an additional option at retirement; allows a member to take up to 2 years of his or her benefit as a one-time partial lump sum distribution in exchange for a reduced lifetime monthly distribution. The bill now goes to the Senate.
  • HB41 by Rep. Stringer – Teen Vaping Bill – Prohibits alternative nicotine product retailers and manufacturers from advertising alternative nicotine products around schools and churches. The bill passed as substituted and amended with a vote of 101-0. Rep. Stringer is a freshman legislator, and this was his first bill passed out of the House. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Bills Passed in the Senate

  • SB5 –The bill adds meaning of certified athlete agent as someone who is certified to be an athlete agent in a particular sport by a national association that promotes or regulates intercollegiate athletics and establishes eligibility standards for participation by a student athlete in that sport.Allows certified athlete agent to pay expenses incurred before the signing of an agency contract by a student athlete, a family member of the student athlete, and an individual of a class of individuals authorized to receive the expenses by the national association that certified the agent if the expenses are: for the benefit of an athlete who is a member of a team authorized to receive a benefit by the national association; of a type authorized to be paid by a certified agent by the national association; for a purpose authorized by the national association that certified the agent.

  • SB14 by Sen. Melson - Bible as Elective - that allows bible to be offered an elective in grades 6-12 was amended in committee. Amendments add that no teacher is required to teach, and no local board of education would incur liability due to provisions in the bill. The bill was amended on the floor before final passage. The amendment will include “and religious histories” after the word bible throughout the bill.
  • SB15 by Sen. Whatley – Kyle Graddy Act - would name the self-administration law and the anaphylaxis preparedness program law together as the Kyle Graddy Act. This bill would specifically allow the possession and self-administration of single dose auto injectable epinephrine by a school student, also provide further for the definition of single dose auto injectable epinephrine. The bill now goes to House and is assigned to House Health Committee.
  • SB222 by Sen. Butler - Appointed County Superintendent – This bill would require all county superintendents to be appointed by the county board of education, except as otherwise provided by the Constitution of Alabama of 1901.A county board of education may continue the services of an elected superintendent of education as an appointed superintendent of education for an additional term without following the posting and selecting procedures required under Section 16-9-11, Code of Alabama 1975, by appointing and extending the contract between the board and the superintendent. The contract may be executed at any time during the term of office of the elected county superintendent of education. On or before September 1, 2019, for elected county superintendents of education whose terms end in 2020, or September 1, 2021, for elected county superintendents of education whose terms end in 2022, the county board of education shall notify the elected superintendent of whether the board intends to contract with the elected superintendent of education for an additional term. The bill passed the Senate Thursday by a vote of 19-10 and is on the House Education Policy committee’s agenda next Wednesday.

Next Week

House Education Policy Committee – Wednesday, April 10 at 1:30 pm.

  • HB150 by Rep. Garrett – State Board of Education Members Term Limits

  • HB339 by Rep. Ledbetter - This bill would require 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. The bill will be in House Education Policy Wednesday, April 10, at 1:30p.m.

  • SB222 by Sen. Butler - Appointed County Superintendent 

HB209 by Rep. Pettus– School Resource Officer Qualifications – will be in the House Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee Wednesday, April 10, at 9:00a.m.

Convene Report - The House will convene Tuesday, April 9 at 1:00, and the Senate at 3:00 p.m. the same day.

To join the CLN contact the CLAS Communication Coordinator Susie Ellison via email susie@clasleaders.org or call (800) 239-3616.

View All Bills CLAS is Tracking