Week Eight of the 2022 Legislative Session

BCA Governmental Affairs Staff

BCA Governmental Affairs Staff

Alabama Revenue Commissioner Vernon Barnett Talks About Tax Cuts for Business Legislation at BCA Briefing

Alabama Revenue Commissioner Vernon Barnett was the featured speaker on Tuesday at BCA’s weekly Government Affairs Briefing in Montgomery. Commissioner Barnett discussed several pieces of legislation that reduce taxes on businesses and promote growth. An interview with Leader Singleton can be viewed here.

Senate Approves Firearm Legislation, House Passes Broadband Measures

The Legislature continued its regular session work this week convening for its 16th, 17th, and 18th legislative working days. This leaves the legislature with only 12 working days remaining. As available meeting days shrink, the number of bills filed continues to grow.  This week 68 new bills were introduced bring the total for the House and Senate to 747. The Legislature is expected to continued its brisk 3-day work week pace.Several bills advanced out of committee and a handful received House or Senate chamber approval.

HB 272, a bill which would eliminate the requirement of a permit to carry a concealed weapon was acted on by the Senate. The bill, which has already passed the House, was approved by a party line vote of 23-6. This legislation has been a high priority for the BCA to ensure that an employer’s rights to provide a safe work environment for workers and customers are protected.  The bill now returns to the House.

In the House, two bills relating to broadband infrastructure by Senator Scofield (R-Guntersville) were passed on Thursday. The first, SB 123, focuses on allowing funds received by the Connect Alabama Fund to be used to extend last-mile infrastructure in unserved areas and for middle-mile and line extension programs. The other bill, SB 124 deals with revising the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs Broadband Accessibility Grant program and its application process.

Below is a list of bills that received legislative action this week:

A status of BCA-supported bills, as well as other bills the governmental affairs team is tracking, can be found in the policy section of BCA’s Capital Briefing below.

BCA Bills of Interest

HB 391: Business Privilege Tax
Sponsor: Rep. Steve Clouse (R-Ozark)
BCA Position: Support
Status: Received a Favorable Report from the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee

HB 391 serves to lower the minimum business privilege tax from $100 to $50 for the taxable year beginning December. 31, 2022. Under current law, the minimum business privilege tax due for certain corporations, business trusts, limited liability entities, and disregarded entities is not less than $100.

HB 82: Small Business Relief and Revitalization Act
Sponsor: Rep. Danny Garrett (R-Trussville)
BCA Position: Support
Status: Signed into Law

HB 82 also known as the Small Business Relief and Revitalization Act would allow businesses to exempt up to $40,000 of the market value of business personal property from ad valorem tax levied by the state. HB 82 would also ensure that any relief funding from the American Rescue Plan Act received by qualifying disadvantaged farmers is exempt from state income tax. This bill would also provide a one-month extension of the due date of tax returns for Alabama financial institution excise taxpayers and corporate income taxpayers in the tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2021, without incurring a late filing penalty. HB 82 would also increase the average monthly state sales tax liability threshold calculation to $5,000 or greater during the preceding calendar year for required estimated payments.

HB 408: Economic Development Incentives Reporting Requirements
Sponsor: Rep. Neil Rafferty (D-Birmingham)
BCA Position: Oppose
Status: Pending Action from the House Ways and Means Education Committee

HB 408 would require the Alabama Department of Revenue to submit a Unified Economic Development Budget (UEDB) to provide policymakers and taxpayers with a comprehensive accounting of all economic development spending. This legislation is similar to SB 57 by Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur).

SB 17: Security of Critical Infrastructure
Sponsor: Sen. Garlan Gudger (R-Cullman)
BCA Position: Support
Status:  Signed into Law  

SB 17 would provide increased protections for critical infrastructure assets through enacting enhanced criminal penalties for the act of damaging critical infrastructure. It also provides penalties for individuals who commit the crime of unauthorized entry of a critical infrastructure asset with a weaponized unmanned aircraft system. Critical infrastructure assets need to be protected for public and environmental safety and economic stability reasons. These include facilities or structures such as a chemical manufacturing facility, a pipeline, a natural gas storage facility, an electric grid control center, and a water treatment facility.

SB 125: Local Government Broadband Grants
Sponsor: Sen. Clay Scofield (R-Guntersville)
BCA Position: Support
Status: Received a Favorable Report From the House Urban and Rural Development Committee

SB 125 proposes an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama which would authorize the state, a county, or a municipality to grant to public or private entities federal award funds or any other source of funding designated for broadband infrastructure by state law for providing or expanding broadband infrastructure.

SB 152: ARPA Relief Funding Tax Exemption – Child Tax Credit
Sponsor: Sen. Dan Roberts (R-Mountain Brook)
BCA Position: Support
Status: Signed into Law

SB 152 will ensure families aren’t penalized on their state income taxes for the increased child tax credit they received through the federal ARPA bill. The tax relief measures included under this bill include increased child tax credit, increased dependent care credit, and increased and modified earned income credit, which totals around $2 billion in additional pandemic relief benefits that were received by Alabama families.

HB 20: Extension of Sales Tax Exemption for Certain Military Aircraft Parts
Sponsor: Rep. Paul Lee (R-Dothan)
BCA Position: Support
Status: Pending Action by the Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee

HB 20 extends the tax exemption for the gross receipts from the sale of parts, components, and systems that become a part of a fixed or rotary wing military aircraft and that satisfy other criteria from May 30, 2022, to May 30, 2032.

SB 45: Historic Tax Credits
Sponsor: Sen. Clyde Chambliss (R-Prattville)
BCA Position: Support
Status: Pending Approval by the Senate Finance & Taxation Education Committee

SB 45 would provide that a tax allocation reservation granted to certain taxpayers with a certified rehabilitation project shall not be excluded from receiving tax credits already reserved prior to the enactment of Act 2021-431. SB 45 also extends the tax credit to December 31, 2027.

SB 57: Repeal/Sunset of Certain State Tax Credits, Incentives, and Abatements
Sponsor: Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur)
BCA Position: Oppose
Status: Pending Approval by the Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee

SB 57 would repeal any tax incentive, credit, or abatement that doesn’t currently have a prescribed sunset or expiration provision unless the Legislature passes an extension on December 31, 2022.  The Alabama tax code contains numerous individual and businesses tax incentives, credits and abatements that are often used as a tool to for economic development at the statewide and local levels. It would also establish annual reporting requirements for all tax incentives, credits, and abatements that would be subject for review by the House and Senate Education committees.

HB 16 and HB 29: Private Right of Action Against Employers (COVID Vaccinations)
Sponsor: Rep. Tommy Hanes (R-Bryant)
BCA Position: Oppose
Status: Pending Approval by the House Judiciary Committee

HB 16 and HB 29 would establish a private right of action against employers for any adverse reaction, injury, temporary, permanent disability or death of an employee arising from an employer mandate that the employee receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

HB 31: Civil Cause of Action Against Employers (Immunization Status Discrimination)
Sponsor: Rep. Ritchie Whorton (R-Owens Cross Roads)
BCA Position: Oppose
Status: Pending Approval by the House Judiciary Committee

HB 31 creates a civil cause of action prohibits employers for alleged discrimination against an individual based on their immunization status. HB 31 would allow for an employer, potential employer or place of public accommodation be subject to a civil cause of action. It lists available remedies to include, but not be limited to: injunctive relief; compensatory damages; punitive damages and attorney fees. 

HB 272: Firearm Concealed Carry Permits and Constitutional Carry
Sponsor: Rep. Shane Stringer (R-Citronelle)
BCA Position: Monitor
Status: Passed the Senate

HB 272  passed through the Senate on Thursday with a vote of 23-6. This bill would eliminate the requirement for person(s) to acquire a concealed carry permit in the State of Alabama. This bill would also revise the presumption that an individual that is carrying a pistol without a permit is evidence of intent to commit a crime. Two amendments were added to the legislation to ensure that employers property rights are protected.

HB 1: Pregnant Workers Fairness Act
Sponsor: Rep. Neil Rafferty (D-Birmingham)
BCA Position: Monitor
Status: Pending Approval by the House Judiciary Committee

HB 1 would require that employers provide reasonable accommodations for employees related to pregnancy or childbirth unless the accommodations would cause undue hardship on the employer. If an employee is denied reasonable accommodations, then they may bring a cause of action against their employer.

HB 113: General Fund Budget Appropriations
Sponsor: Rep. Steve Clouse (R-Ozark)
BCA Position: Monitor
Status: Pending Approval by the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee

HB 113  makes the appropriations for the ordinary expenses of the executive, legislative, and judicial agencies of the State. Also included in the appropriations package is for other functions of government, debt service, and for capital outlay for the Fiscal year ending in September 2023.

HB 130: Healthcare Certificate of Need Program
Sponsor: Rep. Andrew Sorrell (R-Muscle Shoals)
BCA Position: Oppose
Status: Pending Approval by the House Health Committee

HB 130 repeals the certificate of need program and abolishes the Certificate of Need Board, the State Health Planning and Development Agency, the Statewide Health Coordinating Council, and the Health Care Information and Data Advisory Council. Under existing law, health care services and facilities are required to apply for and receive a certificate of need before they can build new health care related facilities or offer expanded services.

SB 27: Prescription Drug Compliance Standards
Sponsors: Sen. Tom Butler (R-Madison)
BCA Position: Oppose
Status: Pending Approval by the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee

SB 27 would require a health insurer to communicate to a physician or other health care professional with authority to prescribe drugs, within three business days of receiving a request for insurance coverage of a prescription drug benefit, that the request is approved, denied or requires supplemental documentation. This legislation also requires a health insurer to communicate with a physician or other health care professional with the authority to prescribe drugs, regarding the approval or denial of the request, within three business days of receiving sufficient supplemental documentation.  

SB 31: Employer Requirements for Family Leave Related to Adoption
Sponsor: Sen. Andrew Jones (R-Centre)
BCA Position: Monitor
Status: Pending Approval from the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee

SB 31 would require certain employers to offer 12 weeks of family leave to eligible employees for the birth and care of a child during the first year after the birth of the child, and for an adopted child within one year of placement. This bill would also require employers who provide certain additional maternity benefits to female employees to extend those to employees who become adoptive parents. Under current law, employers are not required to provide family leave for adoptive parents, during or after the time of the adoption.

HB 135: Education Trust Fund Budget
Sponsor: Rep. Danny Garrett (R-Trussville)
BCA Position: Monitor
Status: Received a Favorable Report from the House Ways and Means Education Committee

HB 135 makes the appropriations for the support, maintenance and development of public education in Alabama, for debt service, and for capital outlay for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2023.

SB 10: Interactive Computer Service Provider Censorship
Sponsor: Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur)
BCA Position: Monitor
Status: Pending Approval by the Senate

SB 10 would prohibit a large interactive computer service provider from taking certain restrictive or suppressive action against a user of its service based on either a viewpoint expressed or shared by the user or true statements of fact expressed by the user. This bill provides for civil liabilities from an effected user against a major interactive computer service provider.

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