Week Five of the 2024 Legislative Session

BCA Governmental Affairs Staff

BCA Governmental Affairs Staff

Tuesday Morning Issues Briefing

Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton joined BCA to discuss the Senate Democrat Caucus’ legislative priorities and provide an outlook on the remainder of the session. Leader Singleton talked about how gaming, broadband expansion, and workforce development legislation this session could impact job creators and hard-working Alabamians.

BCA will not hold briefings during the two legislative recess weeks in March. Our next scheduled briefing will be held on Tuesday, March 19 at 9:00am.

Week Five Legislative Recap

This week, the legislature sent two priority bills to Governor Kay Ivey’s desk for her signature. The Senate gave final passage to HB129, the Creating Hope and Opportunity for Our Students’ Education (CHOOSE) Act, and the House to SB159 relating to in vitro fertilization. The CHOOSE Act creates an education savings account to allow eligible families to spend up to $7,000 per child per year to attend private schools. The IVF protection bill responds to the recent Alabama Supreme Court ruling that resulted in a halt to IVF services across the state. Governor Ivey signed both bills into law.

Over the last few weeks, several senators indicated they would not support a House-passed gaming proposal, which resulted in substitute bills to HB151 and HB152 this week in the Senate Tourism Committee. The substitutes addressed a state lottery but stripped away online sports betting and casino style gaming. 

The committee-approved bills were amended and approved on the Senate floor after about 8 hours of extensive debate on Thursday evening. The Senate-passed legislation is a scaled back version of the House’s bills, creating a state lottery and establishing the Alabama Gaming Commission to license certain locations to conduct pari-mutuel wagering and historical racing machines in Jefferson, Macon, Mobile, Houston, Lowndes, and Greene Counties. 

The House of Representatives will either concur on the Senate’s changes or move to a conference committee to deliberate further. If granted final approval by the legislature, the measure would appear on the ballot before Alabama voters in September. 

HB238 by Representative Phillip Rigsby includes a pharmacy fee that would impact Alabama employers and consumers. This bill would impose a $10.64 fee on every prescription filled, negatively affecting businesses, families, and consumers across the state. For individuals, this translates to an estimated cost of $275 per person annually, and for families of four, an alarming $1,100. These added expenses would burden Alabamians already grappling with inflated prices across the board, including healthcare costs.

While the bill claims to address the price of prescription drugs, it fails to tackle the root problem – the drug prices set by drug manufacturers. Instead of addressing this critical issue, it places an undue burden on consumers and businesses, and Alabama businesses will bear the brunt of these increased costs.

HB238 received a favorable report by the House Insurance Committee on Wednesday. We encourage you to review this piece of legislation and contact your local senators and representatives, urging them to vote “NO” on this bill. You can message your legislators by clicking here.  

The legislature completed its 15th legislative day of the 2024 session and will observe its first spring recess week March 11-15.

BCA Bills of Interest

HB6
Sponsor: Rep. Juandalynn Givan
BCA Position: Oppose
Status: Pending action in House Commerce and Small Business Committee

Additional Information: This bill would mandate an employer to provide a location and reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk.

HB18
Sponsor: Rep. Juandalynn Givan
BCA Position: Oppose
Status: Pending action in House Judiciary Committee

Additional Information: This bill would create a cause of action against an employer who discriminates against an applicant or employee based upon the applicant or employee’s weight or body size.

HB21
Sponsor: Rep. Chip Brown
BCA Position: Monitor
Status: Passed by House; Pending action in Senate Banking and Insurance Committee

Additional Information: This bill would require genetic testing companies to obtain express consent from consumers to retain, use, and share consumers’ genetic information with other entities. This bill would also create a civil penalty for use and disclosure by testing companies of consumer genetic information without consent and provide for enforcement by the Attorney General.

HB73
Sponsor: Rep. Phillip Pettus
BCA Position: Monitor
Status: Second reading in House

Additional Information: This bill would provide for a cap on real property tax assessments under certain conditions.

HB92
Sponsor: Rep. Troy Stubbs
BCA Position: Monitor
Status: Pending action in House Judiciary Committee

Additional Information: This bill would provide for further filing requirements in civil actions relating to asbestos exposure claims.

HB118
Sponsor: Rep. Ben Robbins
BCA Position: Monitor
Status: Pending action in House Ways and Means Education Committee

Additional Information: This bill would establish an income tax credit to recruited or remote workers.

HB167
Sponsor: Rep. Chris Sells
BCA Position: Monitor
Status: Second reading in House

Additional Information: This bill would require smart phone and tablet manufacturers to require that devices manufactured on or after January 1, 2025, contain a filter that is enabled during the activation of the device if the user is a minor, and only allow a user with a password to deactivate or reactivate the filter.

HB202
Sponsor: Rep. Anthony Daniels
BCA Position: Monitor
Status: Pending action in House State Government Committee

Additional Information: This bill would create a protected class of workers and independent contractors who have a private right of action if they are assaulted at their workplace while performing, directly or indirectly, their official job duties.

HB205
Sponsor: Rep. Prince Chestnut
BCA Position: Monitor
Status: Pending action in House Commerce and Small Business Committee

Additional Information: This bill would prohibit retail establishments from prohibiting cash as a payment source to purchase goods or services.

HB228/SB112
Sponsor: Rep. Tim Wadsworth/Sen. Sam Givhan
BCA Position: Monitor
Status: Pending action in House Judiciary Committee/pending action in Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee

Additional Information: This bill would modify the Alabama Business and Nonprofit Entities Code.

HB238
Sponsor: Rep. Phillip Rigsby
BCA Position: Oppose
Status: Second reading in House

Additional Information: This bill would prohibit pharmacy benefits managers from reimbursing a pharmacy less than the actual acquisition cost paid by the pharmacy or from contracting with a health insurer to receive payment amounts for prescription drug benefits that are different from the amounts the pharmacy benefits managers pay pharmacies. This would cost an estimated $275 per Alabamian per year at the pharmacy counter or $1,100 for a family of four.

SB45/HB14
Sponsor: Sen. David Sessions/Rep. Craig Lipscomb
BCA Position: Oppose
Status: Pending action in Senate Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry Committee/Pending action in House State Government Committee

Additional Information: This bill would require regulations by the State Health Officer relating to fish consumption advisories and require the Alabama Department of Environmental Management to test fish for pollutants and post signage at relevant boat ramps notifying of active fish consumption advisories.

SB50
Sponsor: Sen. Gerald Allen
BCA Position: Support
Status: Passed Senate; received a favorable report in House Commerce and Small Business Committee

Additional Information: This bill would prohibit a governmental entity from restricting a person or other entity from acquiring or using an appliance based solely on the type of energy or energy generation used to operate the appliance.

SB53/HB102
Sponsor: Sen. Arthur Orr/Rep. Susan DuBose
BCA Position: Monitor
Status: Passed Senate and pending action in House Commerce and Small Business Committee; Second reading in House

Additional Information: This bill would eliminate the eligibility to work form for persons of 14 and 15 years of age.

SB58
Sponsor: Sen. Arthur Orr
BCA Position: Monitor
Status: Pending action in Senate Banking and Insurance Committee

Additional Information: This bill would make it a crime, with exceptions including criminal investigation and certain legal proceedings, to collect, analyze, or transfer an individual’s DNA without the individual’s express consent. The bill would require notice to an individual of results of a genetic test undergone by the individual when applying for employment, a loan, credit, an educational opportunity, and certain types of insurance.
This bill would also prohibit health, life, and long-term care insurers from using the results of an individual’s DNA analysis to make coverage and premium decisions and authorize the Commissioner of Insurance to enforce the prohibition.

SB60
Sponsor: Sen. Arthur Orr
BCA Position: Monitor
Status: Pending action in Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee

Additional Information: This bill would transfer $5 million from the Rebuild Alabama fund to the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs to create an inland port and intermodal fund.

SB119
Sponsor: Sen. Robert Stewart
BCA Position: Monitor
Status: Second reading in Senate

Additional Information: This bill would increase civil and criminal penalties for an employer who violates child labor laws.

SB172
Sponsor: Sen. Rodger Smitherman
BCA Position: Oppose
Status: Pending action in Senate Judiciary Committee

Additional Information: This bill would create a cause of action against an employer for discrimination based on hairstyle.

SB213
Sponsor: Sen. Arthur Orr
BCA Position: Monitor
Status: Pending action in Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee

Additional Information: This bill relates to data privacy and would require certain notifications, registration, and security methods for consumer data brokers.

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