2024 Alabama Legislative Update: Regular Session - Week Seven



On Wednesday, the Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee gave a favorable report to a committee substitute of the $3.3 billion 2025 General Fund Budget and supplemental budget. Some changes were made to the Governor’s proposed budget, including nearly doubling the allocation for debt service for prison construction and an over $9 million increase for the Alabama Department of Mental Health. In the edits to the supplemental budget, an additional $5 million was allocated for the Alabama State Port Authority and a $10 million reduction in funds for the State Industrial Development Authority (SIDA). This legislation will now go to the full Senate for its consideration.

On Thursday morning, the House Ways and Means Education Committee met and discussed the committee substitute to the 2025 Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget. Chairman Garrett indicated to committee members that there were not many alterations to the Governor’s proposed $9.3 billion proposed budget. One notable alteration was removing the $25 million proposed for rural broadband and reallocating these funds toward various education-related items. Chairman Garrett also indicated that there would be several changes to the supplemental ETF budget. Chairman Garrett asked committee members to be prepared to vote on the committee substitute early next week.


On Thursday, the House of Representatives voted to non-concur with the Senate’s version of the comprehensive gaming package passed in the Senate on March 17th. This will send the package to a conference committee where three members from each chamber will attempt to negotiate a compromise bill. If compromise legislation is produced, it will be presented to both chambers for consideration.  As noted in previous legislative updates, the Senate version of the gaming package removes sports betting and largely removes the sections related to casinos.


This week, an overhaul of the state’s ethics law passed in the House. This legislation, sponsored by Representative Matt Simpson, adds harsher punishments for ethics violations and alters certain responsibilities of the state Ethics Commission. Some of the changes outlined in the bill include altering the punishments for public officials who solicit or accept a bribe, increasing penalties for those providing or receiving things of value in the context of public servants, and setting the term of the Director of the Ethics Commission to five years. This legislation has been sent to the Senate for its consideration.

Working for Alabama

Various pieces of the “Working for Alabama” plan, mentioned in the previous legislative update, were taken up by committees in both chambers this week. This plan aims to increase Alabama’s workforce participation, strengthen economic development in the state, and encourage community and rural development in Alabama. These various pieces of legislation will continue to see progress in both chambers during the next legislative week. This legislative package includes the following:  

  1. Alabama Growth Alliance: Both the House and Senate versions of this bill received favorable reports in committee, and the Senate version was amended. As mentioned in previous legislative updates, this legislation would establish the Alabama Growth Alliance, a public corporation to support economic development. Its focus includes increasing private investment within the state and creating opportunities for minority-owned businesses.
  2. Workforce Development Expansion: This legislation would rename the Secretary of Labor and the Department of Labor to the Secretary of Workforce and the Department of Workforce and alter the Department’s duties. Both the House and Senate versions of this bill received favorable reports in committee.
  3. Alternative Diploma Program: This legislation, coined the Alabama Workforce Pathway Act, would establish an alternative diploma program focusing on career and technical education. As amended in the Senate, it received a favorable report and was carried over to the House for consideration at a later date.
  4. Child Care Tax Credits: As mentioned in previous legislative updates, this legislation creates childcare tax credits for both employees and employers. This legislation is still pending further action in committees in both chambers.
  5. Housing Tax Credit: As mentioned in previous legislative updates, this legislation would establish a tax credit for eligible taxpayers with a stake in qualifying workforce housing projects in Alabama. This legislation is still pending action in committees in both chambers.
  6. Innovation Districts: This legislation has received favorable reports in its respective committees in both chambers. As mentioned in previous legislative updates, it would establish “innovation districts” as public corporations and provide details for how these districts would operate.
  7. Local Government Authority: This legislation would amend the Alabama Constitution, granting the Legislature the authority to allow counties and municipalities to establish “innovation districts” as public corporations. Both the House and Senate versions of this bill received favorable reports in committee as substituted.


Legislation was introduced this week that would increase the number of licenses available under the recently passed medical cannabis law; however, this legislation received some opposition at a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry quickly after its introduction. Senator David Sessions, the sponsor of the legislation, is hopeful that this legislation would allow the recently legalized medical cannabis industry in Alabama to move forward, as it has been stalled by constant litigation since its inception.

Mandatory Cell Phone Filters for Minors

A bill sponsored by Representative Chris Sells, requiring cell phones to have content blockers to be activated as a default setting by cell phone manufacturers, passed the House on Thursday without a single no vote. This bill would require a manufacturer to implement an automatic filter that blocks content deemed "harmful to minors." Failure to comply with this requirement would result in the manufacturer being held civilly liable. The bill will now go to the Senate for consideration. This exact legislation has died in the Senate after passing the House during previous sessions.

Status of the Legislature

The Legislature used two legislative working days this week, bringing its current total to 19 of its allotted 30 legislative working days.

As of April 5th, 426 bills have been filed in the House, and 305 bills have been filed in the Senate.

The House and Senate will reconvene on Tuesday, April 9th, with the House session beginning at 1:00 PM and the Senate session beginning at 2:00 PM. Next week, the legislature is expected to use three legislative working days.

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