Happy Friday! This week,
I would like to bring to you "Taylor's Top 8". These issues are the top eight things you need to know from the legislature this week, plus some "honorable mentions" at the end.
1. We're hearing the words "gas tax" again, but this time, the plan is different.
- Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Huntsville) has declared that the gas tax is dead in the House. But upstairs in the Senate, Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur)'s latest proposal would allow for county commissions to hold a county-wide referendum for local voters to decide whether or not they would like a five-cent gas tax to fund pre-decided road projects. Specific projects would be presented to voters before the election, and the increases would expire in five-years time.
2. Midwifery by a non-nurse midwife is on its way to being legal.
- Representative Ken Johnson's (R- Moulton) bill would allow licensed midwives to legally deliver babies in Alabama. The bill would remove midwife licensing from within the State Board or Nursing and Board of Medical Examiners, and its regulation would be put under a newly formed board—the State Board of Midwifery. Midwives would be allowed to deliver babies as long as they are certified by an accredited organization.
3. HB 24, the Child Placement Agency Protection Act, is on its way to Governor Ivey for a signature.
- Over the last few weeks, both the House and the Senate have taken a day to recognize the sanctity of life and pass four pro-life bills. One of those bills is HB 24, a bill by Representative Rich Wingo (R- Tuscaloosa) that would allow faith-based adoption agencies to follow religious policies when placing children in homes and not allow the state to refuse to issue licenses to those independent faith-based adoption agencies. According to the bill sponsor, only about 30% of the adoption agencies in the state are faith-based. This bill does not protect any agency that accepts state or federal funding. On Tuesday, the House concurred with the Senate's changes to the bill.
4. The House Judiciary Commitee released its final impeachment report by counsel Jack Sharman.
- The Friday before former-Governor Bentley's impeachment hearings began—and ultimately he turned in his resignation—the House Judiciary Committee released an impeachment report by counsel Jack Sharman and his team. This week, the committee issued their final report, which was much shorter than the original report and included recommendations to future legislatures about future impeachments. The report recommended that the legislature pass a bill that gives them subpoena power in future impeachments. A bill of that nature, SB 366 by Senator Phil Williams (R-Gadsden), has been introduced this session. That bill is still in committee.
5. A public hearing on the bill to elimiate pistol permits drew quite a crowd.
- Proponents and opponents—5 of each—of SB 24, Senator Gerald Allen's (R-Tuscaloosa) bill to eliminate the requirement for pistol permits, came out on Wednesday to speak at a public hearing on the bill in the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee meeting. The opposition side of the argument was made up entirely of law enforcement officials, while the National Rifle Association, BamaCarry, the National Association for Gun Rights, and Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale spoke in favor of the bill. This bill is similar to one that was passed in the Senate last week. There was no vote on the bill in committee this week.