Area Lawmakers Preparing for February Session
The 2024 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature is just a little over two months away. Already Alabama legislators are prefiling bills in the house and senate. Among those are several members of the Tuscaloosa County Legislative delegation.
Below are some of the bills already in the hopper and awaiting action when the session begins in Montgomery on February 6th.
In the House:
Rep. Prince Chestnutt (D - Dallas and Perry Counties, District 67) ...
House Bill 2: Dallas County Board of Education members compensation increase. Upon resolution passed by a majority of the members of the county board of education, in lieu of any other compensation, salary, or expense allowance provided by law, each member of the county board of education shall be entitled to receive compensation in the amount of one thousand dollars ($1,000) per month.
Rep. Chris England (D - Tuscaloosa, District 70) ...
House Bill 16: Definition of cash bail revised. The bill would revise the definition of cash bail from the Alabama Bail Reform Act of 1993 to allow the court to accept less than the total sum ordered.
House Bill 17: Raises the sale and use tax on purchases over the internet. The rate is currently eight percent, but the Democrat’s bill would hike the tax to 9 and 25/100’s percent. The proceeds would be split 50/50 between the state and the counties. The increase would provide some $100 million dollars more to funds schools.
House Bill 20: Firearms, penalty for failure to inform when in possession and questioned. Would provide that the failure of an individual to inform a law enforcement officer that he or she is in possession of a concealed pistol or firearm upon request is a Class A misdemeanor.
House Bill 27: Death penalty, resentencing if not a unanimous verdict. Provides that a defendant may be resentenced if a judge sentenced him or her to a sentence other than the jury's advisory sentence. This bill would repeal the existing code section relating to resentencing for certain defendants sentenced for capital murder.
House Bill 28: Crimes and offenses; murder further provided for; exceptions provided; penalties revised. Provides an exception to the crime of murder, specifically, that a person does not commit the crime of murder if the person killed was a willing participant in the underlying felony. This bill would further provide for penalties for the crime of murder.
House Bill 29: Sentencing, habitual felony offenders sentencing further provided for; resentence in certain circumstances. Provides that an individual whose sentence has been enhanced pursuant to the habitual felony offender act may be eligible to be resentenced in certain circumstances.
House Bill 30: Pardons and Parole Board; Criminal Justice Policy Development Council created; provide for membership, duties; require use of parole release guidelines; parole proceedings revised; provide for appellate review. The bill would create the Criminal Justice Policy Development Council to oversee the development and implementation of validated risk and needs assessments for offenders, parole guidelines, and classification guidelines of inmates.
In the Senate:
Sen. Gerald Allen (R - Cottondale, District 21) ...
Senate Bill 2: Public K-12 Education, Star-Spangled Banner to be broadcast each week during instructional hours, constitutional amendment. Proposes an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 2022, relating to public K-12 schools, to require local boards of education to adopt policies requiring each K-12 public school to broadcast or sanction the performance of the first stanza of The Star-Spangled Banner at least once per week during school hours.
Senate Bill 4: Flags; provides that the Freedom Flag may be displayed on public property and that displaying an unapproved flag on public property is a misdemeanor. Provide that the 9/11 Remembrance Freedom Flag may be displayed on any publicly owned property or premises. This bill would also provide that a person who displays an unapproved flag on publicly owned property commits a misdemeanor.
Sen. April Weaver (R - Brierfield, District 14) ...
Sen. Weaver has announced but has not officially filed, as of this morning, a bill that would provide stiffer penalties for “porch pirates,” or people who steal others’ packages, in the next legislative session.
The bill will lay out a range of increasing penalties based on the stolen item’s value. For items worth up to $500, that would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison. For packages worth more than $2,500, it would be a Class B felony punishable by anywhere from two to 20 years in prison.
We will keep you updated as other members of the Tuscaloosa County and West Alabama Legislative Delegations file bills for the new session.