State legislature in full session

Published 10:22 am Tuesday, February 27, 2024

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The Alabama legislature is in full session, and many bills have already been approved in either the House and the Senate. 

Commissioner Sam Bradford gave the commission an update on the legislative session from the Association of County Commissions of Alabama during the Chambers County Commission Meeting on Monday night. 

“Chambers County historically has been very involved in the legislative process and this year’s no different, as our counties all across the state, and ACCA has sent out a legislative report for us to share,” Bradford said during the meeting.

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The ACCA advocates for certain bills through communication and collaboration with the state legislators throughout February. Bradford, who represents Chambers County in the ACCA, listed some of the bills that have made progress throughout the legislative session. 

Bradford also said the gaming bill has passed the House and is now headed to the Senate for approval. 

The bill would allow seven casinos to open in preapproved districts, the forming of the Alabama Gaming Commission and a state lottery that would support the state education and general fund budget. 

The House approved a bill promoting local discretionary spending accountability. Senate Bill 63 will clarify that any discretionary funds allotted to a department head by the Alabama Legislature are the legal responsibility of that individual. The bill was sponsored by Senator Josh Carnley and Representative Troy Stubbs.

“Which means if a county commission gives an individual discretionary funds, the department head, and they misspend that money prior to this bill, it would have been the responsibility of the commission even though the department head misspent money,” Bradford said. “So that is sent to Governor Ivey and pending her signing that, that will clear the commission of that responsibility.”

The House also passed House Bill 131 sponsored by Representative Mack Butler. If it’s approved by the Senate and the governor, the bill will allow healthcare providers to use Alabama’s sales and use tax exemption on certain medical equipment. 

Also, the Senate approved Senate Bill 81, allowing for improvements to the structure and operation of the county’s Board of Registrar’s office. The bill was sponsored by Senator Bobby Singleton and Representative Sam Jones. 

“The bill specifically requires the office to sit and publicize its working hours,” Bradford said. “… That has passed the Senate, not the House, and it encourages Registrar’s appointments to be made to better reflect the state’s population.”