Week Nine of the 2023 Legislative Session

BCA Governmental Affairs Staff

BCA Governmental Affairs Staff

The legislature convened for a two-day work week, completing the 20th legislative day on Thursday.

The House passed HB378, Rep. Chip Brown’s (R-Mobile) bill to provide for the creation of brownfield redevelopment districts to further provide for the remediation and ultimate reuse of brownfield sites.

A bill by Senator Clay Scofield (R-Guntersville) to offer more protections from civil lawsuits to road builders in Alabama was approved by the Senate on Thursday. A substitute was offered and adopted for SB159, which is the result of nearly six weeks of negotiations between lawmakers and stakeholders.

The Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee gave a favorable report to two bills of note, SB261 and SB292, both sponsored by Sen. Dan Roberts (R-Mountain Brook). A substitute for SB261 – the anti-ESG bill – was offered by Sen. Roberts and adopted by the committee, which now moves to the Senate floor for consideration. BCA will continue to monitor this piece of legislation and its potential impact on Alabama’s business community.  

The legislature will return next week for a three-day work week.

On Tuesday, House Majority Leader Scott Stadthagen (R-Hartselle) addressed attendees at the Business Council of Alabama’s (BCA) weekly Government Affairs Briefing. He detailed his background in business and how his mother’s strong work ethic motivated him to start his own business.

Leader Stadthagen discussed the various factors that motivated him to run for public office and gave insight into the process used by House Republicans when taking an official position on pressing issues. He also talked about the importance of newly elected members working to build relationships, learn the legislative process, and absorb as much information and knowledge as possible.

As leader of the House Republican Caucus, Rep. Stadthagen offers his members tools and resources to highlight their efforts and support their work. He recently launched a podcast called “In Session” that features interviews with House Republicans. His goal is to provide Alabamians with a way to become more familiar with political leadership in the state.

The Tuesday morning briefings are streamed live on BCA’s Facebook page each week during the legislative session. Alabama Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton (D-Livingston) will join as our next guest speaker on Tuesday, May 16.

Legislative Interview

BCA connected with Representative Chip Brown this week to discuss his brownfield site remediation (HB378) and ports of Alabama incentives (HB293) bills. BCA supports both of Rep. Brown’s pro-jobs, pro-growth bills which promote responsible ways to to get the most use out of Alabama’s existing industrial resources.

BCA Bills of Interest

Support

HB77
Sponsor: Rep. Danny Garrett (R-Trussville)
BCA Position: Support
Status: Passed in House; referred to Senate Finance & Taxation Education Committee 

Additional Information: Under current law, every business in Alabama that generates a monthly average of $5,000 or more in sales tax must make estimated monthly tax payments the following year. This bill raises the threshold to $20,000, which would reduce “red tape” for more than 3,000 small businesses in the state. 

SB159/HB249
Sponsor: Sen. Clay Scofield (R-Guntersville)/Rep. David Faulkner (R-Mountain Brook)
BCA Position: Support
Status: Passed in Senate; introduced and referred to House Transportation, Utilities & Infrastructure Committee

Additional Information: This bill offers additional protections for civil lawsuits against road builders in Alabama.

HB217
Sponsor: Rep. Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville)
BCA Position: Support
Status: Passed in House; referred to Senate Finance & Taxation Education Committee

Additional Information: This bill removes the state income tax on overtime pay for Alabama workers.  

HB273
Sponsor: Rep. Jamie Kiel (R-Russellville)
BCA Position: Support
Status: Passed in House; referred to Senate Finance & Taxation Education Committee

Additional Information: This bill expands tax deduction for health insurance premiums paid for employees who report no more than $75,000 of adjusted gross income ($150,000 if filing jointly) on their individual tax returns and work for qualifying employer with fewer than 50 employees. It allows qualifying employees and employers to deduct 100% of the amount paid for health insurance premiums in connection with an employer provided health insurance plan. Additionally, it provides support to small businesses and facilitate their provision of health insurance.

SB273
Sponsor: Sen. Garlan Gudger (R-Cullman)
BCA Position: Support
Status: Introduced and referred to Senate Finance & Taxation Education Committee

Additional Information: This bill creates the employer tax credit and child care facility tax credit to incentivize employers to fund child care for their employees and provide for more readily available, affordable, high-quality child care.

HB293
Sponsor: Rep. Chip Brown (R-Mobile)
BCA Position: Support
Status: Received a favorable report by House Ways & Means Education Committee

Additional Information: This bill revises the structure of the amount of credits that may be claimed and expands the credit to allow port users to claim a jobs tax credit if the user increases their cargo base volume.

SB292
Sponsor: Rep. Dan Roberts (R-Mountain Brook)
BCA Position: Support
Status: Received a favorable report by Senate Fiscal Responsibility & Economic Development Committee

Additional Information: This bill cuts red tape for nonprofits, charities, and other tax-exempt entities by streamlining the process for contractors to purchase supplies and materials to be used on construction projects for those entities. It does not create any new tax exemptions; it simply expands the current process already utilized by government entities and their contractors.

HB378
Sponsor: Rep. Chip Brown (R-Mobile)
BCA Position: Support
Status: Passed in House; referred to Senate Fiscal Responsibility & Economic Development Committee

Additional Information: This bill provides for the creation of brownfield redevelopment districts to further provide for the remediation and ultimate reuse of brownfields.

Oppose

HB270
Sponsor: Rep. Shane Stringer (R-Citronelle)
BCA Position: Oppose
Status: Carried over in House Ports, Waterways & Intermodal Transit Committee

Additional Information: This bill prohibits the establishment or expansion of junkyards in certain circumstances.

In Review

HB188
Sponsor: Rep. Chip Brown (R-Mobile)
BCA Position: In Review
Status: Received a favorable report by House Commerce & Small Business Committee

Additional Information: This bill prohibits the consideration of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria when awarding a public contract and requires a responsible bidder, as a condition of being awarded a public contract, to certify, under penalty of perjury, that its employees will not be subject to a personal ESG rating as a basis of hiring, firing, or evaluation.

HB267/SB245
Sponsor: Rep. Tim Wadsworth (R-Arley)/Sen. Sam Givhan (R-Huntsville)
BCA Position: In Review
Status: Pending action on House floor; introduced and referred to Senate Judiciary Committee

Additional Information: This bill revises the Alabama Nonprofit Corporation Law. Changes to nonprofit corporation laws, like those proposed in this bill, can impact various aspects of nonprofit organizations, including their formation, governance structure, board responsibilities, financial reporting requirements, and other operational procedures.

HB298
Sponsor: Rep. Chris Sells (R-Greenville)
Status: Pending action on House floor
BCA Position: In Review

Additional Information: This bill requires all smartphones and tablets sold in Alabama to have an adult content filter enabled upon purchase, with violations constituting a civil penalty of up to $50,000 for the device’s manufacturer.

SB299/HB443
Sponsor: Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur)/Rep. Danny Garrett (R-Trussville)
BCA Position: In Review
Status: Pending action on Senate floor; introduced and referred to House Ways & Mean Education Committee

Additional Information: This bill establishes sunset dates for tax incentive programs, establishes future sunset dates for extended tax incentive programs, and provides required guidelines for all new incentive legislation.

Monitor

SB220/HB367
Sponsor: Sen. Tom Butler (R-Madison); Rep. Phillip Rigsby (R-Huntsville)
BCA Position: Monitor
Status: Pending action on Senate floor; pending action in House Insurance Committee

Additional Information: This bill allows a pharmacist to refuse service to a customer if the pharmacist believes the reimbursement they would receive for a drug is insufficient. It also permits a pharmacist to recommend a customer switch to a different, more costly drug that the pharmacist would make more profit on — ultimately costing the health plan and customer more money. 

SB257
Sponsor: Sen. Andrew Jones (R-Centre)
BCA Position: Monitor
Status: Introduced and referred to Senate Finance & Taxation Education Committee

Additional Information: This bill gradually cuts the state’s 4% sales tax on most grocery items to 2%. The tax reduction would be paused if overall tax revenue growth in the Education Trust Fund fell below 2%.

SB261
Sponsor: Sen. Dan Roberts (R-Mountain Brook)
BCA Position: Monitor
Status: Received a favorable report by Senate Fiscal Responsibility & Economic Development Committee

Additional Information: This bill prohibits a governmental entity from entering a public contract with certain companies or businesses that engage in the economic boycott of businesses in certain sectors and industries; that fail to meet or commit to meet certain environmental standards; that fail to meet or commit to meet certain corporate governance criteria; or that fail to facilitate certain activities.

HB389
Sponsor: Rep. Rex Reynolds (R-Huntsville)
BCA Position: Monitor
Status: Introduced and referred to House Ways & Means General Fund Committee

Additional Information: This bill adds a surcharge of 98 cents per month to all mobile communication in the state to fund the 988 Crisis System of Care.

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