Week One of the 2022 Legislative Session

BCA Governmental Affairs Staff

BCA Governmental Affairs Staff

Governor Ivey Addresses BCA Members as the 2021 Legislative Session Gets Underway

Governor Kay Ivey spoke to BCA’s Government Affairs Committee in Montgomery Tuesday in what she termed has become an “annual event” prior to the legislative session. The briefing marked a return to in-person meetings for the first time in almost two years. The Governor’s comments were also viewed by BCA members across the state through a Facebook broadcast. Governor Ivey’s remarks included a preview of elements of the State of the State address that she delivered later that evening. She covered two of her priorities for the legislative session:  the appropriation of ARPA funds and an enhanced focus on improvements in Alabama’s education system. Governor Ivey also thanked BCA and the business community for their contributions to the state’s successes and stressed the strength of our current economy. 

BCA’s Innovation and Workforce Chairman Miller Girvin introduced the Governor and outlined many of the issues where her administration and BCA have partnered successfully, including the Rebuild Alabama and Innovation Commission initiatives. The meeting was chaired by Jason Isbell of Regions Financial Corporation, the Vice Chair of BCA’s Governmental Affairs Committee.

Next week’s briefing will feature Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth. As a reminder, BCA’s weekly Governmental Affairs Briefings are held each Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. at the BCA offices during the legislative session. The briefings will also be available via Facebook Live.

Governor Ivey Discusses Priorities, Touts Progress in State of the State Address

On Tuesday evening, Governor Kay Ivey presented her 2022 State of the State Address at the Alabama State Capitol where she outlined several priorities her administration plans to address this legislative session. These priorities include:

To read more about Governor Ivey’s 2022 State of the State Address, click here.

Legislature Returns to Montgomery for the First Week of 2022 Regular Session

The Alabama Legislature convened the 2022 Legislative Session on Tuesday, January 11 for the final regular session of the quadrennium. The length of the regular session is limited to 30 legislative meeting days within a period of 105 calendar days. The Legislature and Governor Ivey’s administration have identified an early top priority, which is the appropriation of American Rescue Plan funding. With 2022 being an election year, there is a chance that the legislature could complete its business and adjourn early, although historically that has not occurred.

Budget Hearings
To kick off the legislative week, members of both House and Senate budget committees held budget hearings where lawmakers heard from state finance officials who reported that the state will have historic levels of revenue to appropriate for the fiscal year 2023. Officials cautioned that this level of revenue growth will likely not last and lawmakers should plan, and budget, accordingly. Gov. Ivey is expected to send lawmakers a proposed $2.7 billion General Fund budget and an $8.3 billion education budget. Those are increases of about $300 million and $627 million over the previous fiscal year. Click here to read more about what was discussed at this week’s legislative budget hearings.

American Rescue Plan Act Funding (ARPA)
Governor Ivey and legislative leaders have a common and immediate priority for this session, which is the appropriation of the $580 million in ARPA funds provided by the federal government. Government leaders in Montgomery have openly discussed the possibility of handling this task in an isolated special session in order to make it the sole focus of debate. Some lawmakers have indicated that the special session could happen as early as next week.

Leaders in the legislature have indicated that a large portion of these funds will be prioritized for broadband expansion and water and sewer infrastructure upgrades. Alabama has already allocated $400 million of its 2021 share of the ARPA money to the construction of two new men’s prisons in Elmore and Escambia counties and $80 million for health care facilities. Click here to read more on legislators’ thoughts on how the ARPA funding should be spent in Alabama.

If the Governor calls a special session to address the ARPA funding, then all bills filed in the regular session will be put on pause until the special session has concluded.

Large Number of Bills Filed in First Week of Session
Legislators filed a number of bills in both chambers during the first week which included an array of issues. However, very few bills received any legislative action other than being assigned to a committee for review.  A total of 149 bills filed in the House and 100 were filed in the Senate.

To see the status of BCA-supported bills, as well as other bills the governmental affairs team is tracking, check out the policy section of BCA’s Capital Briefing below.

BCA Bills of Interest

HB 82: Small Business Relief and Revitalization Act
Sponsor: Rep. Danny Garrett (R-Trussville)
BCA Position: Support
Status: Pending Approval by the House Ways and Means Education Committee 

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 21 and SB 17: Security of Critical Infrastructure
Sponsor: Rep. Scott Stadthagen (R-Hartselle) & Sen. Garlan Gudger (R-Cullman)
BCA Position: Support
Status: Pending Approval in both House and Senate Committee  

Companion bills HB 21 and SB 17 would provide increased protections for critical infrastructure assets through enacting enhanced criminal penalties for the act of damaging critical infrastructure. 

HB 20: Extension of Sale Tax Exemption for Certain Military Aircraft Parts
Sponsor: Rep. Paul Lee (R-Dothan)
BCA Position: Support
Status: Pending Approval by the House Ways and Means 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.

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 prohibits employers, places of public accommodation, and occupational licensing boards from discriminating against an individual based on their immunization status. Immunization discrimination is defined as “the discharge, refusal to hire, refusal to promote, demotion, harassment, segregation, or discrimination in matters of compensation or benefits against an employee.” 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 66: Firearm Concealed Carry Permits and Constitutional Carry
Sponsor: Rep. Shane Stringer (R-Citronelle)
BCA Position: Monitor
Status: Pending Approval by the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee

HB 66 would repeal certain existing restrictions regarding the carrying and/or the possession of a firearm on certain property or in a motor vehicle. This bill eliminates the requirement for person(s) to acquire a concealed carry permit in the State of Alabama. HB 66 also revise the presumption that an individual that is carrying a pistol without a permit is evidence of intent to commit a crime. The BCA staff will continue to monitor this legislation closely to ensure that it doesn’t infringe upon employers’ rights to provide a safe workplace by restricting unauthorized firearm possession on company property.

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: Monitor
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 Action in the Senate

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: Pending Approval by 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-Trussville)
BCA Position: Monitor
Status: Pending Approval by the Senate Judiciary Committee

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.

2021 Legislative Session Wrap Up

Capital Briefing As the legislature’s 2021 regular session came to a close this week, we are proud to report that BCA’s proven track record of being the foremost advocate for

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