Week Six of the 2024 Legislative Session

BCA Governmental Affairs Staff

BCA Governmental Affairs Staff

Tuesday Morning Issues Briefing

House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels joined BCA this week to discuss workforce and economic development in Alabama. Leader Daniels touched on current initiatives in the legislature including his childcare tax credit proposal and ways to incentivize industry to get involved in the process.

BCA will not hold a briefing during the upcoming legislative recess week. Our next scheduled briefing will feature Senate Majority Leader Steve Livingston on Tuesday, April 2 at 9:00am.

Week Six Legislative Recap

With workforce development at the top of BCA’s priority list, we are proud to lead the charge on the transformational ‘Working for Alabama’ campaign, which consists of seven bills. Working for Alabama focuses on enhancing Alabama’s workforce, growing the state’s economy, and investing in our rural communities to make Alabama the best place to live and own a business.

Top highlights of Working for Alabama include:
– Merges, consolidates, and streamlines duplicative workforce development agencies and programs under a central agency.
– Eliminates barriers to work with a childcare and housing tax credit.
– Creates a streamlined economic development strategy through a public-private partnership, sustainable year after year to keep up with a changing global economy.
– Evaluates economic incentives on a regular basis to ensure they align with investment strategies.
– Develops high-quality industrial sites so that employers can invest in communities and create jobs.
– Expands broadband infrastructure to increase high-speed internet access.
– Strengthens communities, particularly those in rural areas, through new programs to support small towns and downtowns, rural hospitals, and rural economic infrastructure.

President and CEO Helena Duncan joined Governor Kay Ivey, Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth, Pro Tem Greg Reed, Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter, Leader Bobby Singleton, and Leader Anthony Daniels at the State Capitol on Thursday to kick off the campaign. BCA has built a strong coalition to push Working for Alabama forward and ensure its passage as soon as possible. President and CEO Helena Duncan stated at Thursday’s press conference, “The Business Council of Alabama will exhaust all our efforts to get this package of legislation passed and to the desk of Governor Ivey for her signature. This is our top priority.”

BCA’s advocacy team has worked in vehement opposition to HB238 by Representative Phillip Rigsby, which 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. BCA continues to fight for Alabama businesses and consumers by ensuring this bill does not gain approval by the legislature. Click here for more information on HB 238.

Governor Kay Ivey signed SB1 – an initiative to strengthen the fairness and integrity of Alabama elections – into law this week. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Garlan Gudger and Rep. Jamie Kiel.

BCA Bills of Interest

WORKING FOR ALABAMA

SB242/HB349 – Innovation District Act
Sponsor: Sen. Bobby Singleton/Rep. James Lomax
BCA Position: Support
Status: Pending action in Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee
Additional Information: This bill would authorize local governments to create a new type of local entity to undertake and incentivize economic development projects in certain business sectors identified by the Alabama Department of Commerce. The district would be functionally like a cooperative district or industrial development board and have bonding authority to raise funds for projects in the district.

SB243/HB368 – Innovation District Act Constitutional Amendment
Sponsor: Sen. Dan Roberts/Rep. Neil Rafferty
BCA Position: Support
Status: Pending action in Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee
Additional Information: This bill would propose a constitutional amendment to allow the legislature to authorize counties and municipalities to provide for the incorporation of innovation districts as public corporations and provide for their powers and to exempt innovation districts from certain laws.

SB252/HB372 Alabama Growth Alliance Act
Sponsor: Sen. Greg Reed/Rep. Randall Shedd
BCA Position: Support
Status: Pending action in Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee
Additional Information: This bill would create the Alabama Growth Alliance, a public corporation governed by a board of public and private leaders. The Alabama Growth Alliance would be formed to coordinate the development, tracking, as well as providing input and support for the creation and maintenance of the state’s long-range economic development strategy, annual objectives, and key tactics to achieve the long-range strategies.

SB253/HB373 – Alabama Workforce Pathways Act
Sponsor: Sen. Donnie Chesteen/Rep. Kelvin Lawrence
BCA Position: Support
Status: Pending action in Senate Education Policy Committee
Additional Information: This bill would establish a Workforce Pathways diploma at the K-12 level and reinvest in Career & Technical Education (CTE) centers across the state. This pathway would better prepare those students to enter the workforce and/or earn credentials that will help lead directly to employment in their chosen field.

HB344/SB247 – Alabama Workforce Transformation Act
Sponsor: Rep. Danny Garrett/ Sen. Steve Livingston
BCA Position: Support
Status: Pending action in House Economic Development and Tourism Committee
Additional Information: This bill would merge and consolidate duplicative workforce development agencies, programs, and funding mechanisms into one single, repurposed state agency that will be led by a cabinet-level official who has primary responsibility for the state’s workforce development activities.

HB346/SB250 – Housing Tax Credit
Sponsor: Rep. Cynthia Almond/Sen. Chris Elliott
BCA Position: Support
Status: Pending action in House Ways and Means Education Committee
Additional Information: This bill would establish a state workforce housing tax credit like programs implemented in 29 other states. It would complement the existing federal housing tax credit program created by the Reagan Administration designed to incentivize private capital investment in the development of affordable workforce housing.

HB358 – Childcare Tax Credit
Sponsor: Rep. Anthony Daniels/Sen. Garlan Gudger
BCA Position: Support
Status: Pending action in House Ways and Means Education Committee
Additional Information: This bill would create tax credits to incentivize employers to fund childcare options and childcare providers to expand access to and quality of childcare. The tax credits would be available for employers that provide on-site childcare or stipends to employees for childcare expenses. Tax credits would also be available to for-profit childcare providers that voluntarily participate in the state’s childcare quality rating program, and donors to nonprofit childcare providers for the improvement or operation of the facilities.

Budget Items for Site Development, Rural Broadband, and Workforce Training
Sponsor: Sens. Arthur Orr and Greg Albritton/Reps. Danny Garrett and Rex Reynolds
BCA Position: Support
Status: Pending legislative budget process
Additional Information: Budget items for site development ($25 million), rural broadband ($25 million), and workforce training.

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 in 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: Oppose
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/second reading in Senate
Additional Information: This bill would modify the Alabama Business and Nonprofit Entities Code.

HB230
Sponsor: Rep. Margie Wilcox
BCA Position: Support
Status: Passed House; pending action in Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee
Additional Information: This bill would repeal the statute requiring corporations maintain certain records to provide an annual report to the Secretary of State.

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.

HB242
Sponsor: Rep. Ben Harrison
BCA Position: Monitor
Status: Pending action in House Judiciary Committee
Additional Information: This bill would create a private cause of action for employers who discriminate against military servicepersons.

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; second reading in House
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 in Senate; 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: Third reading in Senate; amendment adopted on floor
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: Second reading in Senate
Additional Information: This bill relates to data privacy and would require certain notifications, registration, and security methods for consumer data brokers.

SB220
Sponsor: Sen. Dan Roberts
BCA Position: Monitor
Status: Received favorable report in Senate County and Municipal Government Committee
Additional Information: This bill would prohibit certain companies affiliated with the People’s Republic of China from entering public contracts with a public awarding authority.

SB230/HB327
Sponsor: Sen. Greg Albritton/Rep. Alan Baker
BCA Position: Support
Status: Pending action in Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee; pending action in House State Government Committee
Additional Information: Relating to geologic storage, this bill would provide that the possessory right to pore space below surface real property is vested in the surface owners and may be separately conveyed.

SB231
Sponsor: Sen. Arthur Orr
BCA Position: Monitor
Status: Pending action in Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee
Additional Information: This bill would condition an employer’s eligibility for economic development incentives upon the employer refraining from certain practices relating to employee representation by a labor organization.

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