SubAla Backed Bill Passes House
& Hotly Debated on Senate Floor
Construction related issues dominated discussions in the House and Senate this week. Two companion bills that allows for Open and Fair Competition for government projects reached both the House and Senate floor.
On the House side, HB195 sponsored by Rep. Mack Butler-R-Etowah, St. Claire, passed the House early in the week by a wide margin. It was read for the first time in the Senate and assigned to the Senate Governmental Affairs committee.
Thursday, the companion bill SB161 sponsored by Sen. Paul Sanford, R-Huntsville, was hotly debated on the Senate floor. The bill was carried over to call of the chair.
You can click the bills to see the full version here: (HB195) and here: (SB161)
Workforce Council Lands on Desk of the Governor
SB217 Sponsored by Sen. Paul Bussman-R-Cullman was passed 98 to 0 by the Senate on Wednesday with an amendment that required the council to evaluate and make recommendation to realign the counties that comprise a regional counsel as required to meet the needs of employers. The bill has now been sent to the governor's desk and awaits his signature. HB345 was tabled at the request of Rep. Terri Collins after an amendment she offered was accepted and added to Bussman's bill.
Sprinkler Bill Back in Legislature
Continues to Raise Issues of Quality and Safety
SubAla will again weigh in on a measure designed to allow the State Fire Marshall to promulgate rules outlining the standards for plumbing contractors to install residential sprinkler systems. HB385 by Rep. Mike Hill-R, Columbiana and SB327 by Sen. Bryan Taylor, R-Prattville are essentially the same bills that have been dropped in the hopper in other sessions. Again, SubAla has raised issues regarding just what the educational or other qualifications will be for those who will be authorized to install the sprinkler systems.
Allied members of the Alabama Homebuilders Association who sell this type of equipment are eager to see the bill pass along with plumbers who do residential work.
Both bills can be seen in there entirety by clicking here: (HB385) and here: (SB327)
New Lien Bill Dropped in the Hopper
A lien bill, HB 451 was introduced this week by Rep. Wes Long-R-Marshall and will prove to be problematic by the industry if passed. It was assigned to the Committee on Financial Services. AAR called a public hearing on HB451 after having its own concerns over the bill.
Under the current law, a lien may be declared by certain persons who perform work on certain real or personal property. This bill would provide for the priority of future advances made pursuant to a future advance mortgage over the liens of persons who perform work on real property when the mortgage is recorded prior to a notice of commencement. This bill would provide that a mechanics' or materialman's lien would only apply to real property if it is recorded in the county where the property is situated and preceded by a notice of commencement. This bill would provide the procedure for the termination of a notice of commencement by a contractor.
While the bill excludes subcontractors, it will have a negative impact on anyone contracting directly with an owner or tenant on both residential and commercial jobs.
Based on previous feedback from membership SubAla does not support this bill as written and will fight its passage.
The bill can be seen in its entirety by clicking here: (HB 451)
Controversial Bill by Sen. Beasley in Committee
SB205 Sponsored by Sen. Billy Beasley-D-Barbour was in the Senate Health committee on Wednesday where a public hearing was held. During the public hearing Russell Davis from the Home Owners Association spoke against SB205. Mr. Davis was representing workers compensation groups that believe that the current system saves money for companies. Allowing individuals to select the pharmacy of their choice would not be cost effective for the companies. A representative for an out of state online pharmacy spoke in favor of the bill. The representative stated that current case law supports the efforts of SB205. After compelling testimony from both sides it was decided that the bill would be carried over until next Wednesday when it will be voted on in committee. Sen. Beasley stressed that this bill is a simple matter of choice for an individual. Sen. Coleman expressed her support for Sen. Beasley's bill. We will await the Senate Health committee's decision next Wednesday.
SB304 Sponsored by Sen. Cam Ward-R-Birmingham received a favorable report from the Business and Labor Committee after accepting an amended. The amendment states that nothing can exempt a member of a Limited Liability Company from being counted as an employee for determining the number of employees. This bill would remove the requirement for the certification to be filed with the Department of Labor and would add a member of a limited liability company to the persons who may file for exemptions. SB304 is now postured for a vote in the Senate. This bill does not have a companion bill in the house at this time.
Weekly Benefit Increased
HB88 Sponsored by Rep. Jack Williams-R-Jefferson received a favorable report from the Business and Labor committee in the House. This bill would alter the formula for calculating the individual weekly benefit payment, providing that an eligible individual who is unemployed or partially unemployed in any week shall be paid an amount equal to his or her weekly benefit amount reduced by any wages payable to the individual for that week in excess of one third of the weekly benefit amount.
Death Benefit Increase
HB107 sponsored by Rep. Rod Scott-D-Jefferson was referred to the House Judiciary committee for next Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. Under the existing workers' compensation law, if a covered employee dies as a result of an employment related accident or occupational disease, the employer is required to pay a burial expense not to exceed $3,000. This bill would increase this amount to $6,500.
Mandatory Work Requirement
Introduced by Sen. Jerry Fielding-R-Elmore SB171 was referred to the Senate committee on Fiscal Responsibility and Accountability. This bill would require each person receiving unemployment compensation to perform community service. It would provide that any person receiving unemployment compensation who does not perform community service shall be ineligible to receive compensation. Finally, this bill would provide procedures and exceptions for such mandatory community service programs to be developed by the Alabama department of labor in conjunction with the Alabama Department of Human Resources. This bill is postured to be placed on the committee schedule for next week.
Dual Enrollment Bill Passes the House
HB384 Sponsored by Rep. Mac Buttram-R-Cullman passed the House on Wednesday by a margin of 64-0. The bill which allows high school students to enroll in a 2 year technical college while still enrolled in high school, now heads to the Senate Education committee and is on the agenda net wednesday at 8:30am. It would also allow them to qualify for a portion of $10 million dollars in scholarships.
Competitive Bid Bill Sees Little Movement
SB76 Sponsored by Sen. Tom Whatley-R-Auburn is awaiting committee action in the Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Accountability after not being placed on the committee agenda this week. This bill would provide that if a bid of a preferred vendor is no more than five percent greater than the lowest bid of a responsible bidder, the awarding authority shall award he contract to the preferred vendor.
If you have any questions, comments, or would like to provide input on any of the legislation being reported, please contact David Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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