Goat Hill Report-Week ending 3/5/21

The Alabama Legislature met for three days again last week and have now used 13 of the 30 possible legislative days allowed during the session. Historically, the legislature meets two days a week with one day of committee meetings.  

Governor Ivey Extends Mask Mandate  

While the Governor extended the mask mandate is not a legislative action, her extension of the order was a hot topic in Montgomery and in the media. Governor Ivey announced on Thursday that the statewide mask mandate will be extended until April 9, but it will expire for good after that. Ivey broke with other Southern Republican Governors in Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida where mask are not required.   The governor called masks “one of our greatest tools” in preventing the virus’ spread but emphasized that she will not extend the mask order further, saying it will become a matter of personal responsibility when the mandate ends.   Medical officials welcomed Ivey’s decision after urging an extension, arguing that easing restrictions before more people were vaccinated could reverse recent improvements. Alabama’s rolling seven-day average of daily cases has dropped from 3,000 in early January to below 1,000 and hospitalizations are at their lowest point since summer. So far, only about 13% of Alabama’s 4.9 million people have received one dose of vaccine, according to state numbers.   The governor did lift some restrictions on how many people can sit at a restaurant table, but tables are still required to be six feet apart or have a partition. The order also allowed senior citizens to resume some activities and hospitals to increase the number of visitors patients can have from one to two.  

Bills of Interest to the Concrete Industry

House Bill 227 by Representative Joe Lovvorn would create a tax credit up to $3,000 for individuals who construct a safe room at their primary residence. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives on a 92 – 0 vote Wednesday.

Senate Bill 261 by Senator Clyde Chambliss (R-Prattville) is based on an Indiana Act and makes any contract unenforceable that requires the design professional to indemnify or hold harmless a party, including a third party, against liability for damage other than liability for damage to the extent caused by an act of negligence by the design professional. The bill is of great interest to the concrete industry as we often face indemnification clauses in purchase order agreements. The clauses are restricted in most states, but Alabama still allows the practice. Similar legislation was introduced in the 2020 session but died with the abbreviated session. Contractor organizations are opposed to SB 261 as they argue it places unfair responsibility back on the contractor.

The legislature will reconvene on Tuesday, March 9, 2021. Should you have any questions about this report please contact our office.

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