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Week Two of the 2020 session

WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT A KEY ISSUE FOR LT. GOVERNOR AINSWORTH

Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth headlined BCA’s Governmental Affairs Committee briefing on Tuesday and shared the progress he and his office have made on issues such as workforce development and growing Alabama’s military industry.

On workforce development, Lt. Governor Ainsworth highlighted the work that has been done by the Workforce Development Commission (WDC) – an initiative being spearheaded by the Lt. Governor’s Office. “The reason I picked workforce as an initiative to focus on is simple: When I talked to business owners all over the state, no matter where they were from, I heard over and over again that the number one limiting factor to growth is access to workers,” stated Lt. Governor Ainsworth.

The WDC recently released the Alabama Workforce Development Report which provides several recommendations on where Alabama should focus resources in order to achieve its best results in workforce development. Lt. Governor Ainsworth reviewed some major areas of focus covered in the report such as career and technical education, modernizing technical equipment at Alabama’s community colleges, expanding the presence of career coaches in high schools, and expanding internships and apprenticeships statewide. You can check out the full Alabama Workforce Development Report by clicking HERE.

Lt. Governor Ainsworth then provided attendees with an overview of the efforts of the Alabama Military Stability Commission, another key initiative of his office. He very simply summed up their main goal through this commission which is to, “make Alabama the most military friendly state in the country”. The Lt. Governor announced that his office would be proposing a package of seven bills which focus on different ways to create a better environment for military personnel and operations in Alabama.

Lt. Governor Ainsworth’s remarks were broadcast on Facebook Live. Watch below if you missed it, and like us on Facebook to ensure that you won’t miss next week’s live broadcast of Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh.

PACE PICKS UP AT THE STATE HOUSE AS BOTH CHAMBERS BEGIN MOVING LEGISLATION

The second week of the 2020 Legislative Session provided the House and Senate with the procedural ability to bring legislation to the chamber floor for debate. Additionally, an extremely high volume of bills were filed at a pace that will likely continue in the coming weeks. House and Senate committees also saw a larger workload this week than in Week one, with several bills of interest to BCA receiving committee approval.

As far as bills passing the House and Senate chambers, here are a few of the issues that were debated and approved:

  • The Senate passed a bill that would allow certain municipalities to establish three entertainment districts within its corporate limits that meet certain qualifications.
  • The Senate passed a bill to create and fund a Statewide Emergency Notification System pursuant to cooperation between the Emergency Management Agency and the Alabama Disaster Recovery Program Committee.
  • The House passed a bill that would prospectively require a municipality to receive approval from the Legislature via local law in order to impose an occupational tax on individuals within the municipality’s jurisdiction.

Week Two Brings Increased Activity on Bills of Interest

The second week of the 2020 Legislative Session resulted in several bills of interest being filed and others seeing committee action. Below is a list of notable bills BCA’s team is tracking:

BCA Supports
  • SB 117 and HB 140 – by Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Atmore) and Rep. Alan Baker (R-Brewton), both received a favorable report from their respective committees on Wednesday. These companion bills would clarify existing law and the definition of “cover” as it relates to alternative cover for solid waste disposal landfills. The EPA and ADEM have adopted rules allowing the use of alternative cover to permit Alabama landfills to use other means of daily cover on city, county and private landfills. Prior to the rule, the daily cover required was 6 inches of earth each day which is extremely costly in terms of both money and space. This legislation would take this currently regulated practice and officially place it into law in Alabama.
  • HB 158 – by Rep. Paul Lee (R-Dothan), received a favorable report from the House State Government Committee on Thursday. This legislation would prohibit private auditing or collecting firms working on behalf of state or local governments from recovering certain costs from a taxpayer. These prohibited costs would include travel expenses, auditing or collecting-related costs, salary or personnel-related expenses, or professional services fees.
  • HB 77– by Rep. Wes Kitchens (R-Arab), would require employers and state agencies to use the same specified guidelines to determine whether a worker is to be classified as an employee or independent contractor. This will require state government agencies to use a uniformed set of criteria that will mirror the federal government criteria. This will provide businesses with clear and consistent guidelines when classifying employees. 
BCA Opposes
  • SB 107 – by Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur), would require businesses of any size to submit an affidavit to the Secretary of State proving they use E-Verify in accordance with federal immigration regulations. This would need to be submitted to the Secretary of State’s office before a business could receive a business license or permit from a county or municipality. It would also make it a crime to submit a false or misleading affidavit.
  • HB 93 – by Rep. Ron Johnson (R-Sylacauga), would enact the Digital Fair Repair Act. This would provide for the repair of digital electronic equipment by persons other than the manufacturer or an authorized repair provider of the manufacturer. This bill would require an original equipment manufacturer to make parts available, for purposes of diagnosis, maintenance, or repair, to any independent repair provider.
BCA Will Monitor
  • SB 165 – by Sen. Tim Melson (R-Florence), known as the Compassion Act, would authorize medical marijuana in Alabama by requiring patients to obtain a medical marijuana card from a doctor to treat certain medical conditions included in the legislation. It is a priority of BCA to ensure this legislation contains business protection provisions and worker’s compensation provisions in order to make sure the potential law does not expose the business community to additional civil liability.
  • SB 81 – by Sen. Andrew Jones (R-Centre), would require broadband service providers operating in Alabama to submit a report containing its broadband network area coverage map to the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and would provide the department with rulemaking authority relating to the submission of the reports.
  • SB 144 – by Sen. Andrew Jones (R-Centre), would limit the federal income deduction allowed on a state return to a maximum of $6,000 for individuals filing as single, head of household, and married filing separately and $12,000 for individuals filing as married filing jointly. This legislation would also exempt sales of food and groceries from state sales and use taxes. This bill would amend Alabama’s Constitution and, if passed by the Legislature, would need to be approved by Alabama voters via constitutional amendment.

Tuesday’s Briefing will Feature Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh

Please join us next Tuesday, February 18 at 9:00 a.m. for BCA’s Governmental Affairs Committee Briefing with Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh.

Please email RSVP@bcatoday.org to let us know you’ll be present. The meeting will begin at 9:00 a.m. in the first floor auditorium of the Business Center of Alabama, 2 North Jackson Street, Montgomery.

We’ll be broadcasting Sen. Marsh’s briefing on Facebook Live for anyone who’s unable to attend. Find us on Facebook and tune in.

If you have any questions regarding the legislative session, please contact BCA’s Senior Vice President for Governmental Affairs David Cole or BCA’s Vice President for Governmental Affairs Molly Cagle.


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