|Legislative session off to a busy start with almost empty State House |
The House and Senate gaveled in at noon on Tuesday for the 2021 legislative session despite COVID-19 protocols that are changing operations in the State House. The 105 House members are socially-distanced throughout the House floor, House gallery, and two overflow rooms while all 35 Senators are allowed on the Senate floor; all legislators, staff, and members of the public must wear masks and have their temperatures checked upon entry. Public access is limited to those with appointments with legislators or those speaking at public hearings. Committee meetings are streamed online, but technology glitches on Wednesday made it impossible to see or hear many committee meetings in the Senate.
Despite these challenges, several substantial bills were approved in committee and on the floor this week. The legislature met 3 of the possible 30 days last week.
Bills of Interest to the Concrete Industry:
HB227 by Representative Joe Lovvorn would allow a tax credit for up to $3,000 for individuals who construct a safe room in their residences. Similar legislation was introduced in 2020. The bill is awaiting committee action.
HB 220 by Representative Nathaniel Ledbetter would remove oversight of K-12 and university buildings from the Division of Construction Management (Former Building Commission). The oversight would be transferred to the 2-4 year university or the Department of Education for K-12. This creates many potential issues on code enforcement and construction of required safe rooms. Construction trade associations are lining up in opposition to the bill. Senate Bill 194 by Senator Donnie Chesteen is the companion bill. The bills are awaiting committee action.
HB192 by Representative Bill Poole was approved by the House 94-1. The bill renews the state’s two primary economic recruitment and incentive acts and raises the cap for both incentives. The act expired last session when it could not be renewed due to COVID. The program is essential to keep Alabama competitive in recruiting industry to our state. HB192 included an amendment that now grants a $3.00 per ton tax credit for products brought into a deep draft terminal. Aggregate and cement have both been brought through the Port of Mobile over the years.
The Senate Finance & Taxation – Education committee will take up HB192 on Tuesday. HB245 by Representative Lynn Green will increase the penalty for speeding in areas where workers are present to the greater of $250 or double the fine. Senate Bill 4 by Gerald Allen is the companion bill.
The Alabama legislature is set to reconvene on Tuesday, February 9, 2021. If you have any questions please contact our office.