The issues to watch during the 2022 legislature

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MONTGOMERY, Alabama (AP) – Alabama lawmakers return to Montgomery on January 11 for the 2022 legislative session. Here are some issues to watch out for as the session begins.

PANDEMIC RELIEF FUND

Lawmakers face decisions on how to spend more than $ 1.5 billion in US bailout state relief funds. Congress allocated $ 2.12 billion to Alabama as part of the US bailout. The state has so far received $ 1 billion and it has $ 580 million left after using $ 400 million to build prisons and $ 80 million to reimburse hospitals and nursing homes. Leading lawmakers say they expect infrastructure projects to be among the proposed uses.

FIREARMS LICENSE

Lawmakers should once again debate legislation that would remove the need for a license to carry a concealed handgun. The legislation, known as “constitutional portation” to partisans, had been introduced several years ago but was never adopted because it encountered opposition from the police. “I think, based on the feedback I get from members of the Senate, there will be a lot of interest in the constitutional porterage law.

I have heard this from members of the House and the Senate. So I think it will certainly be an issue that will be debated and that we will deal with in session, for sure, ”said Senate President pro tempore Greg Reed.

ABORTION

Nearly two dozen House Republicans support legislation similar to a Texas law that would ban most abortions and allow anyone to sue violators and collect damages. The Alabama Heartbeat Act bill would prohibit medical providers from performing an abortion once heart activity is detected, typically around six weeks old and before some women even know they are even pregnant. The measure would allow individuals to bring civil lawsuits against anyone who “aids or encourages” an abortion and to collect at least $ 10,000 in damages for each abortion performed.

GAMBLING

Lottery and casino legislation will be resubmitted in Alabama’s next legislative session – with the aim of getting the measure passed to voters in November – but the prospects for the proposal are unclear. Some House leaders have expressed skepticism that the bill will be voted on this year. Republican Senator Greg Albritton of Atmore has said he plans to propose a constitutional amendment that will include a state lottery, a deal with the Poarch Band of the Creek Indians and a still to be determined number of other gambling venues. silver.

Gambling legislation has failed over the past sessions under a mix of conservative opposition and disputes over how many casinos and who should license the casino.

EDUCATION INVOICES

Republican Senator Arthur Orr of Decatur is proposing an overhaul of math education that would include more math coaches in schools, summer programs and interventions. Finally, in 2028, fifth graders will have to show that they meet certain benchmarks in mathematics to advance to sixth grade under the proposal.

Lawmakers previously approved a similar promotion requirement for third-graders with reading. However, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said she would ask lawmakers for a one-year postponement of the reading promotion requirement after the pandemic disrupted classrooms. The high-stakes promotion requirement for third-graders is currently expected to come into effect this spring.

DELETE RACIST LANGUAGE

The Constitutional Recompilation Committee proposed a plan to remove racist language, such as the separate school provisions, from the state’s founding document. The sections were struck down by court rulings but remain in the document. It also revamps the massive and sprawling document that contains nearly 1,000 constitutional amendments to try to make it more user-friendly. If approved by lawmakers, it would be presented to voters in November 2022.

PROHIBITION OF PROCESSING OF TRANSGENDERS

Lawmakers could once again debate an attempt to ban doctors from providing sex-confirming hormone therapy, puberty blockers or sex reassignment surgery to treat transgender minors. The Alabama Senate approved the bill in 2021, but it failed to secure a vote in the House of Representatives. Arkansas became the first state to adopt such a measure, but a federal judge in June prevented it from coming into force.

INFLUENCE OF THE ELECTION YEAR

Alabama lawmakers are set for re-election this year. For lawmakers looking for another term, the session offers the last opportunity to consolidate their records before voters make their decisions. This has traditionally resulted in a flurry of laws and resolutions that lawmakers say will appeal to their constituents. Primary is May 24. However, lawmakers will also feel the need to end the session quickly in order to get started on the election campaign.

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