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Report Ending February 26th

Progress continued in the State House last week as the Senate approved a healthier than normal General Fund budget.  That chamber also considered, but has not yet approved, a separate bill that gives state employees a 3% raise.  When members return to Montgomery tomorrow, it will be the 15th legislative day and the official halfway mark of the session.  Although the halfway mark may not be accurate since rumors still persist that we may see adjournment well before the final possible day of the session, which is April 23.

 

No bills were introduced last week that pertained to AWWI, so there is no first readings report for this week. The updated tracking list is attached for your information, and it was a busy time in committee last week for bills we are following.  More on that below.

 

SB 184 is a bill that Pat Sefton suggested AWWI members might want to review.  It states that “any entity entering into a public-private agreement of $50,000 or more for development or construction, or both, to occur on public property or public right-of-way shall be subject to the requirements of Section 39-1-1, regardless of the origination of the financing or funds for the work or improvements to be accomplished as a part of the agreement.”  Section 39-1-1 pertains to performance bonds for public works projects.  A copy of the bill is attached and it has been added to the tracking list.  SB 184 is out of committee in the Senate.

 

 

UPDATE ON LEGISLATION WE ARE TRACKING:

 

Sales Tax Exemption Certificate Legislation – HB 35, by Rep. Danny Crawford, was given a favorable report from the Senate Finance & Taxation General Fund Committee last week and is now in position to receive final passage in the Senate.  Sen. Greg Reed of Jasper is handling the bill in the Senate.  Please contact your senators and let them know that you support this bill and want them to act on it before they adjourn.

 

Grease Trap Bills – SB 258, to require commercial food service establishments to provide locking manhole covers or otherwise secure grease traps, was substituted in committee last week.  The substitute addresses the concerns raised by AWWI. Thanks to the House sponsor, Rep. Joe Lovvorn ,and the Senate sponsor, Sen. Tom Whatley, for working with us on this bill.  As noted previously, the purpose of the changes are to clarify the differences in regulatory authority between the Department of Public Health and the local sewer boards that maintain grease policies intended to prevent sanitary sewer overflows.  A copy of the committee substitute is attached for your review.  The committee also adopted an amendment to lower the penalty from $500 to $100 per day.  This bill will now go the House floor for consideration.

 

Data Breach Bills – SB 318 and HB 410 were both approved by committees on Wednesday after being substituted.  The substitute made mostly technical changes.  The legislation requires notification in the event of a data security breach and requires certain procedures in the event of a data breach by a covered entity, which includes a government entity.  Attorney General Steve Marshall is a proponent of the bill and has worked with the business community and others to address concerns.

 

Ethics Law Changes – SB 343, which substantially revises the Ethics Act and is 118 pages long, was introduced this week by Sen. Del Marsh.  This bill has been referred to the Senate Constitution, Ethics and Elections committee.  SB 267, which makes changes to the ethics law for minor violations, was reported out of committee last week.  The companion bill, HB 432, is scheduled to be considered in a House committee on Wednesday.

 

Fluoridation Bills – SB 180 & HB 224 require a public water system to notify the State Health Officer before initiating any permanent change in the fluoridation status of its water supply.  HB 224 was approved by the Senate Health & Human Services Committee last week.  SB 180 is out of committee in the House and ready to be considered on the House floor.

 

Stephanie Norrell

McMillan & Associates