Week 8 was very busy as the legislature has increased their legislative days from two days a week to three. The bills we are tracking are listed below. The descriptions and Eagle Forum’s positions have not changed but in most cases the bills’ status has. We have also added a Yoga bill and a vaccine bill to our watch list. See details below.
Thank you, Patriots!
Executive Director, Eagle Forum of Alabama
Week 8: May 7 – May 9
ALABAMA HUMAN LIFE PROTECTION ACT HB314
DESCRIPTION: This bill would make abortion and attempted abortion felony offenses except in cases where abortion is necessary in order to prevent a serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother. This bill would provide that a woman who receives an abortion will not be held criminally culpable or civilly liable for receiving the abortion.
STATUS: The Senate will vote on HB314 at 4:00 on Tuesday, May 14th. You can watch the Senate video live here beginning at 4:00PM on Tuesday, May 14th.
EF’S POSITION: We support it. (EF 2019 priority bill)
BORN ALIVE “GIANNA’S LAW” HB491
DESCRIPTION: This bill is cited as Gianna’s Law. This bill would require a physician to exercise reasonable care to preserve the life of a child born alive after an abortion or attempted abortion.
STATUS: On Wednesday, May 8, it passed out of the House Health Committee and was placed on the House Regular Calendar.
EF’S POSITION: We support it.
CAMPUS FREE SPEECH BILL (HB498)
DESCRIPTION: This bill would require state two-year and four-year colleges and universities to protect and uphold free speech rights for students and faculty, and would provide a cause of action for violations. See Eagle Forum’s press release here which describes why we need this bill and what it will accomplish.
STATUS: Eagle Forum testified in support of this bill during the public hearing on Wednesday. HB498 passed the House Education Policy Committee on May 9th and has been placed on the House Regular Calendar.
EF’S POSITION: We support this bill. (EF’s 2019 priority bill)
APPOINTED STATE SCHOOL BOARD (SB397)
DESCRIPTION: This bill would propose an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to rename the State Board of Education as the Alabama Commission on Elementary and Secondary Education and to provide that the members of the commission are appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the Senate.
STATUS: It will be in the Senate Education Policy committee on Wednesday at 2:45PM in room 825.
EF’s POSITION: We believe that elections are the best way to hold officials accountable.
REMOVE RELIGIOUS EXEMPTION FOR VACCINES (HB592)
DESCRIPTION: This bill would remove the religious exemption for immunization of children in schools.
STATUS: This bill was introduced but the sponsor got so much blow back that he said he is not moving forward with the bill.
EF’S POSITION: We are glad the sponsor the pulled this bill. Parents should have the right to opt their children out of vaccines.
YOGA BILL (HB449)
DESCRIPTION: This bill would authorize local boards of education to offer yoga to students in grades K to 12.
STATUS: HB449 had a public hearing in the House Education Committee on May 8th. The committee will vote on May 15th.
EF’S POSITION: Several people testified at the hearing about Yoga’s spiritual aspects which pushes it too close to teaching religion. Eagle Forum also testified about how the meditation aspects of Yoga cannot be removed from the exercises themselves. We hold the position that if parents want their children to engage in the practice of yoga that they do it on their own time and not in public schools with tax payer money.
ACTION: Contact the House Education Policy Committee members and ask them to vote no on the Yoga bill HB449.
ALABAMA RELEASED TIME CREDIT ACT (HB291)
DESCRIPTION: Relating to public K-12 education; to authorize local boards of education to allow released time for student participation in religious instruction in an elective course for purposes of satisfying certain curriculum requirements in public schools.
STATUS: It has passed the full house and passed out of the Senate Education Policy committee. It is on the Senate Regular Calendar and ready for debate and a vote on the Senate floor.
EF’S POSITION: We support it.
APPOINTED SUPERINTENDENTS (SB222)
DESCRIPTION: Under existing law, a county superintendent of education may be elected if authorized under a local law or amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901. This bill would require all county superintendents to be appointed by the county board of education, except as otherwise provided by the Constitution of Alabama of 1901. ( ALL local county superintendents will be appointed NOT elected by the people.)
STATUS: This bill has already passed the Senate, has been placed on the House Regular Calendar, and is awaiting a floor vote for final passage.
EF’S POSITION: We oppose this bill as we believe elections are the best way to hold public officials accountable.
MEDICAL MARIJUANA SB236
DESCRIPTION: This bill would exempt from the crime of unlawful possession of marijuana a person with a qualifying condition who has a valid medical cannabis card for the medical use of cannabis. EF has no problems with people using CBD oil for their health as it has been shown to be effective especially in pediatric epilepsy cases. Almost every state that has allowed for medical marijuana has opened the door to full blown recreational use.
STATUS: This bill has passed the Senate and is now in the House Health Committee but no hearing/reading has been scheduled.
DESCRIPTION: Proposing an amendment to Section 65 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to establish an Alabama Lottery statewide; to provide for the sale of lottery tickets including instant tickets and multi-state lottery games; to provide for the distribution of lottery proceeds; and to require the Legislature to pass general laws to implement the amendment.
STATUS: This bill has passed the Senate and has been placed in the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee.
EF’s POSITION: We oppose this bill for these reasons.
ACTION: Contact the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee members ask for a “No” vote on the lottery bill SB220.
HUMAN TRAFFICKING BILLS
HB260 This bill would require health care facilities to require certain employees to receive human trafficking training. There was a public hearing but there has not been a vote in committee yet.
HB261 This bill would require any trade school or junior college offering certain truck driving courses to offer training on the recognition, prevention, and reporting of human trafficking. This bill was strongly supported by Truckers Against Trafficking. It passed out of committee and is awaiting debate and vote on the House floor.
HB262 This bill would allow the disclosure of a certain person’s photograph after an arrest for prostitution. The idea behind this bill is to focus on the “Johns” i.e. those who are caught soliciting a prostitute. Their arrest pictures will become public record in hopes of detouring their behavior. HB262 passed out of committee and has been placed on the House Regular Calendar.
HB264. Under current law, the penalty for a first violation of failing to post human trafficking hotline information in certain establishments is a warning, and the penalty for a subsequent violation is $25. This bill would increase the penalty to $250 for a first violation and $2,500 for a subsequent violation.
EF’s POSITION: We support all of these bills. (EF’s 2019 priority bills)
BANNING FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION (HB421)
DESCRIPTION: This bill would establish the crime of female genital mutilation, would provide criminal penalties, and would provide an exception only under limited circumstances when medically necessary.
STATUS: On Wednesday, May 1, it passed out of the House Judiciary Committee and was placed on the House Regular Calendar.
EF’S POSITION: We support it. (EF 2019 priority bill)
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