Category: Alabama Senate

Urge Your Senator To Vote YES On SB256

The Alabama Senate will vote on SB256 today.  Sponsored by Senator Scott Beason, SB256 will reform our state’s immigration laws.

SB256 will:

  • Make it illegal to hire illegal immigrants.  Business owners who use e-Verify to check the status of their employees are given a safe harbor, but the use of e-Verify is not mandatory.  All state contracts will have a clause against hiring illegal immigrants and if contractors are found in violation of that clause on a first offense, the contract will automatically terminate and the contractor may be barred from contracting with the state for a period of one year.  The contractor is also liable for 10% of the total amount of the contract in damages.  On a second offense, the contractor may be permanently barred from doing business with the state and be liable for 25% of the total contract price in damages.
  • Prevent any illegal immigrant from getting public benefits.
  • Make it a crime to be in the state illegally.  Persons found in violation of this law will be subject to a $500 fine and one of the following:  Term of imprisonment not less than one year and one day and not more than three years; or repatriation to the person’s country of citizenship.
  • Allow law enforcement officers to verify the citizenship of any person in the course of a lawful stop, detention or arrest where reasonable suspicion the person is in the state illegally exists.

Eagle Forum urges a YES vote on Final Passage of SB256.
The net ANNUAL cost to Alabamians according to one legislator could be at least $600 million when depressed wages, lost jobs, dollars sent out of the U.S., drug addiction, etc. are added to the $270 m. net annual cost to AL documented at www.fairus.org.  We cannot afford NOT to stop it by attrition through cutting off jobs and benefits.

Go to http://alabamaeagle.org/find-your-legislator to find your state legislator and email or call as indicated.

OR you may leave a message at the House switchboard in Montgomery: (334)242-7600.

Coming Up This Week In The Alabama Legislature

On the Senate side…

In Committee:

SB196–Sen. Paul Bussman’s Shared Parenting bill:  Changes the custodial presumption in child custody cases from 80%/20% to 50%/50%

HB58–Rep. Mike Ball’s Ethics Disclosure Requirements:  Requires public officials/candidates and spouses of public officials/candidates to disclose if they are employed by the state or federal government or have a contract with the state or federal government.

HB64–Rep. Kurt Wallace’s Secret Ballot Protection Act:  Constitutional amendment protecting the right to a secret ballot in employee representation.

SB46–Sen. Cam Ward’s Health Care Rights of Conscience Act:  This legislation will provide a conscience exception for health care providers and pharmacists who believe in the sanctity of life and choose not to perform procedures or provide medication that do not comply with that belief.

SB310–Sen. Trip Pittman’s Teacher Tenure Law and Fair Dismissal Act:  Reforms the state’s tenure system for teachers in order to improve the quality of education in Alabama.

On the floor:

SB301–Rep. Phil Williams’ pro-life legislation:  Redefines person to include all humans from the moment of fertilization.

SB172–Sen. Del Marsh’s legislation to prohibit the use of gas chambers when euthanizing cats or dogs.

SB112–Sen. Arthur Orr’s legislation to remove racist language from the Alabama Constitution of 1901.

SB256–Sen. Scott Beason’s Immigration Reform Legislation–reforming the state immigration laws to provide for enforcement of federal immigration laws.

On the House side…

In Committee:

HB98–Rep. Kerry Rich and Rep. Wayne Johnson’s legislation to impose term limits on legislators in Alabama:  Limits to three consecutive full terms in the House and/or Senate.

HB206–Rep. Jack Williams’ legislation to increase the distance campaign materials and candidates can be to a polling location to 300 ft.

HB427–Rep. Paul DeMarco’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights:  This legislation will, among other things, amend the Alabama Taxpayer Bill of Rights to conform to the federal Taxpayer Bill of Rights including certain aspects like an “innocent spouse” defense.  It will also increase the time period in which a taxpayer has to file an appeal of a preliminary or final assessment.

HB193–Rep. Mike Jones’ legislation to prohibit lawsuits against restaurants for obesity or weight gain.

On the floor:

HB123–Rep. Jay Love: Education Budget for fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2012

Why Internet Sales Tax Won’t Work

The Wall Street Journal has an excellent article on the move by some states to tax internet sales.  Conclusion:  Taxing internet sales doesn’t work.  In fact, it drives business out of the state.

Governor Pat Quinn recently added to his reputation as America’s most taxing politician by signing a law applying the state’s 6.25% sales tax to Internet purchases made in Illinois. Within hours, Amazon, the online book and merchandise seller, announced it would discontinue using any of its 9,000 Illinois small business affiliates to avoid having to collect the tax. Congratulations, Governor.  Read More

I hope Alabama legislators are listening. While this article focuses on collecting sales tax from the seller, there is currently a proposal to collect internet sales tax from the consumer in the Alabama legislature.  Technically, consumers already have a duty to report internet buys and pay a “use” tax on those orders.  However, it is almost impossible to enforce.  Most people are unaware this duty even exists, much less follow through with the reporting.

Rep. Ison has introduced legislation that will require sellers to notify consumers of their duty to pay the use tax immediately after their purchase.  It will also require retailers to provide consumers with a summary of their purchases throughout the year and their tax obligations on such items.  The bill also amends the Alabama personal income tax form to allow for an easier reporting of the use tax.

Abortion Bills Get Out Of Committee

The Senate Health Committee voted to pass the following legislation out of committee:

SB301–Recognizing “life” as beginning at the point of fertilization

SB308–Requiring a doctor to show ultrasound pictures to a pregnant woman before performing an abortion.  Called the Right to Know and See Act

SB298–Requiring a doctor to examine a woman both before and after an abortion-inducing drug.  Called the Abortion-Inducing Drug Safety Act.

SB202–Prohibiting coverage of abortion by any health care plan offered in Alabama through federal health care legislation.

The Week Ahead

Committee Activity:

Senate:

SB34–Amends the Alabama Code to provide child includes children in utero.  A positive drug test at time of birth shall create the presumption of exposure in utero.

SB167–Prohibiting lawsuits against restaurants for obesity

SB 301–Defines “person” to include all humans from the moment of fertilization

SB308–Right to Know and See legislation requiring ultrasounds before abortions

SB202–Federal Abortion Opt Out Act prohibits insurance plans that cover abortion from participating in the state insurance exchange mandated by the Obamacare legislation.

House:

HB425–Moving state presidential preference primary to first Tuesday in March along with the general primary in presidential years.

HB324–moving property tax reappraisal on Class II and Class III property to every four years.

HB123–Education Budget

HB365–Informing consumers of duty to pay state and local sales tax on goods purchased over the internet.

Lots of activity on the House and Senate floor as well.  The General Fund budget is scheduled to pass this week probably Thursday.  I hear the House may take up Rep. Hammon’s immigration legislation (HB56).  It’s the eighth bill on the House Regular Calendar, so there’s a good chance they will take it up.

Highlights from this week’s Regular Calendar:

Senate:

SB84–Limiting liability for property owners who lease for purposes of hunting or fishing.

SB140–Forever Wild reauthorization

SB127–Limiting terms in the Alabama House and/or Senate to 3 terms.

SB112–Removes racist language and references from the Alabama Constitution

SB17–Easing the ballot access requirements

SB50–Tax credits for creating jobs

SB152–Grants small businesses (less than 10 employees) that locate or expand in Alabama a 5-year property tax exemption.

House:

HB32–Moving the presidential preference primary to June beginning in 2012

HB56–Immigration reform legislation

Get Your 2011 Legislative Directory

Make at least a $25 contribution to Eagle Forum, and you’ll receive a free copy of our 2011 Legislative Directory.  It is a complete directory of the Alabama State Legislature sized to fit in your pocket or purse.

**If you would like to purchase directories outright, call 205-879-7096 for more information.

Legislative Week in Review

The Alabama Legislature had another busy week.  The Alabama House passed several sunset bills along with the following:

Rep. Paul DeMarco’s HB25 Fiscal Transparency Legislation requiring the State Finance Department to produce monthly financial reports for the General Fund and the Education Trust Fund, and to publish them in a prominent place on the department’s website. This increased transparency will allow government agencies and the public to monitor the condition of the state’s budgets, making it easier to prepare for budget cuts, should they become necessary.

Rep. Wes Long’s HB8 which amends the definition of “child” to include the unborn.  It also creates a rebuttable presumption of exposing a child in utero to a controlled substance if both the mother and the child test positive for the same controlled substance not prescribed by a physician.

Rep. Jim McClendon’s HB102 ban on texting while driving.

Next week, the House will consider teacher tenure and the education budget.

The Alabama Senate saw a lot of action this week as well.  They had a few lively committee hearings on legislation:

SB140 Sen. Scott Beason’s reauthorization of the Forever Wild program

SB256 Sen. Scott Beason’s immigration reform legislation

SB236 Sen. Arthur Orr’s legislation to authorize furloughs for state employees

Next week, the Senate Health Committee will meet to consider several pieces of pro-life legislation.

AL Legislature Moving Quickly On Key Reforms

Since gaveling into session on March 1, 2011, the new GOP-controlled Alabama legislature has acted swiftly to get much-needed reform measures passed. The first and one of the most important of these was Rep. Greg Canfield’s Rolling Reserve Budget Act. Changing the way we budget the Education Trust Fund, Canfield’s bill will prevent proration in tough years. Legislators have also taken steps to restore fiscal responsibility to the state’s budget through the repeal of the state’s Deferred Retirement Option Program which will save taxpayers $70 million in additional benefits to state employees who work beyond retirement age.

Back in December they passed a complete overhaul of state ethics laws, and are continuing to strengthen them through legislation like Rep. Mike Ball’s HB58 requiring public officials/candidates and spouses of public officials/candidates to disclose if they are employed by the state or federal government or have a contract with the state or federal government.

Now they’ve turned their focus to the increasingly serious problem of illegal immigration. The Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform estimates the cost of illegal immigrants to the state of Alabama is $270 million a year. This estimate does not include many costs such as unemployment, gang violence and other criminal activity associated with illegal immigration. Rep. Micky Hammon and Sen. Scott Beason are looking to address this problem through HB56 and SB256 respectively.

Largely under the radar have been several pieces of legislation that make Alabama a more business-friendly environment. Rep. April Weaver’s legislation to allow qualifying employees to deduct from Alabama gross income 100% of the amounts they pay as health insurance premiums, Sen. Cam Ward’s legislation to provide tax credits to businesses that create jobs, and Sen. Paul Bussman’s bill to establish a 5-year property tax exemption for small businesses that relocate or expand in Alabama will improve economic development and create more jobs.

So far, the Alabama Legislature is off to a good start. If they continue to pass constructive reform measures and conservative legislation, they will get a solid A grading from us!

Coming Up This Week In The Alabama Legislature

On the House side:  The House is set to re-vote on the Obamacare Opt Out legislation.  Several Republicans were absent last Thursday, and it did not pass.  I’m told they have the votes to get it through this week.

On the Senate side:  The Senate may take up Sen. Beason’s immigration reform legislation in committee on Wednesday.

Other items on the regular calendar for this week:

Senate:

  • SB127-Limiting terms in the Alabama House and/or Senate to 3 terms.
  • SB136-Provides for electronic filing of campaign finance reports.
  • SB50-Provides tax credits for businesses that create jobs.
  • SB152-Establishes a 5-year property tax exemption for small businesses that relocate or expand in Alabama.
  • SB111-Prohibits counties and municipalities from collecting occupational tax.

House

  • HB32-Moves the presidential primary from March to June to coincide with state primary elections.
  • HB56-Immigration Reform legislation.
  • HB8-Amends the definition of “child” to include the unborn.
  • HB102-Ban on texting while driving.
  • HB126-Forever Wild reauthorization
  • HB211-Requires the state to provide liability insurance for teachers.

Legislative Week In Review

Another busy week for the Alabama Legislature.  This week, the House passed the following:

HB61 (Rep. April Weaver) Small Business Healthcare Tax Incentives Bill:  This legislation allows qualifying employees to deduct from Alabama gross income 100% of the amounts they pay as health insurance premiums as part of an employer provided health insurance plan provided by a qualifying employer.

HB19 (Rep. Kerry Rich) Voter ID:  Amends the Alabama Constitution to require voters to provide a valid photo ID in order to vote.

HB62 (Rep. Mike Jones) Ethics Commission Funding: Annual appropriation to fund the Alabama Ethics Commission.

HB58 (Rep. Mike Ball) Ethics Disclosure:  This legislation requires public officials/candidates and spouses of public officials/candidates to disclose if they are employed by the state or federal government or have a contract with the state or federal government.

Obamacare Opt Out:  The House attempted to pass a constitutional amendment (HB60) to preserve the freedom of Alabama citizens to make decisions about and provide for their own healthcare regardless of federal mandates.  Several Republican legislators were not present for the vote, and it failed.*  You can find out how your legislator voted here.  The House is expected to revote on this legislation next week.

*Rep. Owen Drake is in the hospital and could not be present for the vote.

Over in the Senate:

DROP legislation was amended and passed.  SB 72 (Sen. Del Marsh) DROP: Governor Bentley amended the DROP Bill to comply with the 90 day notice requirement and avoid legal challenges.  Both the House and Senate concurred with the amendment and it is now awaiting the Governor’s signature.