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Legislative Briefs for May 2

Parental rights bill fails to pass, gets carried over

A bill that would have enshrined into law past U.S. and Alabama Supreme Court rulings that found that it is “the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody and control of their children” failed to pass Tuesday in the Alabama House after being debated for more than an hour. 

The bill was instead voted to be carried over to the call of the chair, meaning it could be brought back to the House floor for a vote at a later time.

Sponsored by Rep. Kenneth Paschal, R-Pelham, House Bill 6 would prohibit the state government from encroaching on the rights of parents to “direct the upbringing, education, care and custody of his or her child,” outside of a “compelling state interest.”

A number of mostly Democratic House members spoke against the bill, pointing to its vagueness and potentially broad scope as a concern.

Rep. Joe Lovvorn, R-Auburn, proposed the bill be carried over, a proposal that received majority support in a voice vote.


House passes election integrity bills with Democrats’ opposition

The Alabama House passed two election integrity bills Tuesday with Democrats voting against the measures. That’s a change from the Senate, where the bills passed unanimously with Democrats supporting them. 

Both sponsored by Sen. Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville, the two bills – Senate Bill 9 and 10 – would mandate the use of paper ballots in conjunction with electronic voting machines, and prohibit voting machines from having the capability of connecting to the internet, respectively.

Alabama election policy already requires the use of paper ballots, nor do Alabama voting machines have the capability to connect to the internet; SB9 and SB10 would merely codify those standards into law.

Three Democratic House members spoke to the bill on the floor, all mostly questioning its necessity.

“I don’t know if we have Dominion machines, but they have done a great job; even the pillow guy (Mike Lindell) came into town trying to say that we had illegal votes in the machine, and that was not the truth,” said Rep. Thomas Jackson, D-Thomasville. “Why (are) these people doing all this stuff?”

The two bills ultimately passed; SB9 with a vote of 78-27, and SB10 with a vote of 77-28.


House passes bill requiring school sporting events to accept cash payments

The Alabama House passed a bill Tuesday that would mandate public schools accept cash for entrance to school-sponsored sporting events that are open to the public.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Steve Hurst, R-Munford, who said he came up with the premise after watching an older woman with her grandchildren be turned away from a school sporting event for not having a debit or credit card. The bill was introduced in 2022, but failed to reach the Senate as lawmakers “ran out of time,” Hurst said.

Before the bill had even reached the House floor, it had acquired 87 co-sponsors from both Democrats and Republicans. Following some brief logistics questions from lawmakers, the bill saw unanimous approval from the House.


Delta-8 ban approved by House

A bill banning the sale of products containing psychoactive cannabinoids, such as Delta-8, for anyone under 21 was approved by the Alabama House Tuesday.

Under existing law, there are no age restrictions to purchase Delta-8 products, or any product containing psychoactive cannabinoids.

House Bill 219, sponsored by Rep. Russell Bedsole, R-Alabaster, would levy a Class B misdemeanor charge on anyone under 21 in possession of or purchasing Delta-8 products, along with any other products containing psychoactive cannabinoids. The bill would also levy a 5% tax on all products containing psychoactive cannabinoids.

The bill would also tax psychoactive cannabinoid products at a rate of 5%, and levy a fine of between $50-$200 for a first offense.

The bill saw unanimous approval in the House with a vote of 105-0.


Fentanyl exposure bill passes House

Sponsored by Rep. Matt Simpson, R-Daphne, a bill that would impose additional criminal charges for exposing and a first responder to fentanyl resulting in injury or death passed in the Alabama House Tuesday.

Simpson, who sponsored the fentanyl trafficking bill that was signed into law in March, said on the House floor that in doing research for his original fentanyl trafficking bill, he learned of the dangers of fentanyl exposure. While some cases of first responders sustaining injuries after being exposed to fentanyl have been reported, medical experts have called them into question, suggesting that simple exposure is not sufficient for any serious reaction.

The bill went on to receive unanimous approval in the House. Simpson also opened the bill up to co-sponsors, of which he received 83 supporters.


Bill exempting overtime pay from state income tax passes House

Much like during its appearance in the House Ways and Means Education Committee last week, a bill that would exempt overtime pay from state income tax passed unanimously in the House Tuesday, while also being heaped with bipartisan praise.

Sponsored by Rep. Anthony Daniels, D-Huntsville, the bill was described as the first of its kind by Rep. Danny Garrett, R-Trussville, who chairs the committee the bill passed through last week. The bill saw no opposition, and instead, House members who took opportunities to speak only did so to praise Daniels for his work on the bill.

The bill saw unanimous approval, and when opened for co-sponsors, received 100 supporters. It now moves to the Senate.

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