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What’s on tap – March 2, 2022

Good morning and welcome to legislative day 17 in the Alabama State House.

Both the House and Senate come in at 3 p.m. today, but first there is a slew of committee meetings.

A few of note:

  • The 2023 education budget and accompanying bills will get their first votes in the House Ways and Means Education Committee at 9 a.m. The record $8.17 billion budget presented to the committee on Tuesday includes more money for classroom materials, the hiring of technology coordinators and reading coaches and $20 million to implement the K-5 math instruction bill working its way through the Senate.
  • Budget bills also include a 4% raise for teachers and lump-sum bonus for retirees.
  • At 9:30 a.m., the House Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee has several election-related bills on its agenda, including House Bill 225 to eliminate the requirement that U.S. military members and their families voting overseas submit with their ballots an affidavit signed by two other people.
  • The bill does not do away with the affidavit requirement for people voting absentee in Alabama.
  • “I think it’s important that we make it easier for those fighting for our freedom…to exercise their right to vote,” bill sponsor Rep. Ben Robbins, R-Sylacauga, said.
  • The Secretary of State’s records show that in the 2020 general election, 13.1% of all votes were cast with absentee ballots. This accounts for over 300,000 votes.
  • Both the House and Senate judiciary committees have high-profile bills this afternoon. At 1 p.m. the Senate committee has Rep. Shane Stringer’s bill to do away with the permit requirement to carry concealed handguns. And the House committee at 1:30 has both the House and Senate bills making it a felony for a doctor to prescribe puberty blockers or hormones or perform surgery to aid in the gender transition of people 18 years old or younger.
  • A recently filed bill of note: Sen. Larry Stutts, R-Tuscumbia, filed this week a bill that would require women of childbearing age to have a negative pregnancy test before they can get medical cannabis.
  • Stutts, an obstetrician, opposed the 2021 medical cannabis law. His Senate Bill 278 would mandate “every woman of childbearing age from 25 to 50 years of age, to obtain a negative pregnancy test either from her physician or documentation from a certified medical lab that has been ordered by a physician licensed in Alabama.” The documentation must be dated within 48 hours of purchase.
  • Stutts said he’ll be issuing a press release on the bill today.

See you at the State House!

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