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What’s on tap – February 16, 2022

It’s a full day of committees and then House and Senate action this afternoon as lawmakers continue ticking off legislative days. By the way, word is we are here for three legislative day weeks in the State House at least until the end of the Month.
Here’s a few things to watch on day 11:
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee meets at 8:30 a.m. and will vote on Sen. Arthur Orr’s Senate Bill 10, which seeks to prohibit large social media platforms from blocking a user in Alabama or deleting the opinions or information they share. The bill says if a “major interactive computer service” does discriminate against users based on what they share, it “shall forfeit to the affected user $100,000 for each offense, and an additional $100,000 for each day of the continuance of the offense.”
  • Judiciary will also vote on Sen. Bobby Singleton’s Senate Bill 160, which revises the criminal penalties for the possession of marijuana.
  • The House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee meets at 9 a.m. and are expected to vote on Rep. Shane Stringer, R-Citronelle, bill to end the requirement for concealed carry permits in the state. The bill is a priority for the House GOP caucus but has faced opposition from some law enforcement groups.
  • Senate Finance and Taxation Education meets at 10 a.m. and has Rep. Jim Carns, R-Vestavia Hills, bill to ensure Alabama families aren’t penalized on their state income taxes because of last year’s expanded tax credits under the American Rescue Plan Act. A change to state tax code is needed to ensure taxpayers received the full benefit of the federal COVID-19 relief. Similar legislation was needed previously to untax businesses’ CARES Act benefits. “They gave us a lot of money for the American Rescue Plan Act that was supposed to be tax free,” Carns said on the House floor Tuesday when the bill passed that chamber. A Senate version by Sen. Dan Roberts, R-Mountain Brook, was approved in that chamber last week. Some lawmakers have expressed frustration over the time its taking to get final passage of this bill, given that Alabamians are filing their taxes now. If the legislation didn’t get approved, Alabamians would pay an extra $87 million in state income taxes, supporters have said. People who have already filed their taxes would need to file an amended return.
  • The House Education Policy Committee meets at 1:30 p.m.. Its agenda includes a bill to improve the process for people seeking to become teachers through alternative certification. (More on that below). The committee also has House Bill 322, which would make public K-12 schools require that students use restrooms or locker rooms based on their biological sex. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Scott Stadthagen, R-Hartselle, and has 45 GOP co-sponsors.
  • The Senate Education Policy Committee ALSO meets at 1:30 (why, I don’t know) and will be taking SB200 from Sen. Rodger Smitherman that seeks a three year delay of the holdback provision of the Alabama Literacy Act.
  • The Senate convenes at 3:00 and the House convenes at 3:30.
  • See you at the State House!

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