Week Seven of the 2022 Legislative Session

BCA Governmental Affairs Staff

BCA Governmental Affairs Staff

Senate Minority Leader Singleton Talks Pro-Business Legislation at BCA Briefing

Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro) highlighted BCA’s Government Affairs Briefing this Tuesday. During this comments, Sen. Singleton thanked BCA for the strong relationship between the business community and the minority caucus. He also discussed current legislation of interest to businesses including an exemption for business personal property taxes, the reduction of the business privilege tax and the importance of keeping economic development incentives strong. 

Firearm Legislation and General Fund Budget See Movement, Bill to Allow Permitless Carry of Firearms passes the House

The Legislature continued its regular session work this week and convened for its 13th, 14th, and 15th legislative working days. This brings the legislature to the halfway point with only 15 working days remaining. The number of bills filed by the legislature this session continues to grow with a total of 60 bills filed this week, and there is still no sign that the Legislature will stop its 3-day work week pace.

Several bills advanced out of committee and a handful received House or Senate chamber approval. Perhaps the most notable bill that was acted on by the legislature this week was the passage of HB 272 by the House on Thursday which would eliminate the requirement of a permit to carry a concealed firearm. The BCA Governmental Affairs team has worked diligently since the beginning of the session on this issue to ensure that the final version of the legislation did not take away employers’ rights to provide a safe work environment for their employees. The state’s General Fund budget was the primary focus in the Senate this week. SB 106, sponsored by Senate General Fund Budget Chairman Greg Albritton, was approved by the Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee on Wednesday, and then received full approval from the Senate on Thursday.

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: Pending Action in 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: Awaiting the Governor’s Signature

HB 82 also known as the Small Business Relief and Revitalization Act, passed the Senate on Thursday with a vote of 29-0. This bill 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.

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

SB 17 was signed into law on Tuesday. This bill 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: Awaiting the Governor’s Signature

SB 152 was delivered to the Governor for her signature on Tuesday, and would 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 in Senate 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, on December 31, 2023, repeal any tax incentive, credit, or abatement that doesn’t currently have a prescribed sunset or expiration provision unless the Legislature passes an extension. The Alabama tax code contains numerous individual and businesses tax breaks that would fall into this category. 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: Pending Approval by the Senate Judiciary Committee

HB 272  passed through the house on Tuesday with a vote of 65-37. 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: 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-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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