Legislation that dealt with a number of so-called hot-button issues got lots of media attention at the start of the 2015 Alabama legislative session. But along the way, many of the bills died a slow “legislative death,” which can result from a number of causes. I will mention some of the bills that failed to pass this legislative session. Some of them were not in the best interest of the people of Alabama and it’s good that those failed. Others appeared to be good legislation.
• Legislation that would have given payday loan borrowers six months to pay off their debt rather than the current 14 days received approval from a Alabama House committee. The bill never made it to the House floor. It’s obvious that the lobbyists for the payday lenders have tremendous clout and were able to derail this badly needed legislation. In fact, there is much more that needs to be done in this area of concern.
• Legislation that would have allowed gun owners to carry and transport loaded handguns in their vehicle without a concealed carry permit passed in the Senate but failed to get consideration on the House floor. I believe the bill needed to die and it did.
• Bill giving judges, ministers and other officiants the right to refuse to perform marriage ceremonies failed to pass in the Senate after passing in the House in March.
• A bill that would have placed sex offender-type restrictions on abortion clinics in an attempt to close the Huntsville facility failed after passing the House. The bill prohibits abortion clinics from operating within 2,000 feet of a public school.
• Legislation to authorize up to $50 million in bonds to help build a 350-room lodge and conference center and other improvements at Gulf State Park passed in the House but died in the Senate. This bill would have been a tremendous boost to our state’s tourist trade. Hopefully, it will be in Gov. Bentley’s call for the special session.
• Bill that would have done away with the state issuing marriage licenses failed after passing in the Senate. It would have allowed couples wishing to marry to enter into a marriage contract that would be filed in the probate office.
• Proposal to close or privatize Alabama’s state liquor stores and phase out the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board’s retail operations by Oct. 1, 2016, failed in its house of origin. The House of Representatives passed a resolution to form a task force to study the issue but the Senate had already gone home. The resolution died. The legislators had better take a long look at our current system before it’s turned over to the private sector. Why fix something that isn’t broken?
• Medical marijuana legislation passed in a Senate committee for the first time, but it didn’t get a debate by the full body. The bill would have allowed patients with one of 25 different chronic conditions to purchase up to 10 ounces of medical marijuana a month and opened of a limited number of dispensaries.
• The “Uber” bill allowing Transportation Network companies to conduct business with very little regulation never came up for vote after several municipalities objected. This is another bill that I believe should have been killed.
Source: AL.com Erin Edgemon
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