Arise legislative update: March 4, 2024

Arise’s Akiesha Anderson gives a rundown on a plethora of bills we are monitoring on voting rights, education funding and other issues as we begin the fifth week of the Alabama Legislature’s 2024 regular session. As a reminder, you can always visit and click on “Take Action” to see a list of our action alerts and key legislation that we’re tracking.

Full video transcript

Hello, my name is Akiesha Anderson, and I am the policy and advocacy director for Alabama Arise.

I am excited to be here to give you yet another legislative update. Last week marked the fourth week of the 2024 legislative session. Thus, we are now entering into the fifth week of legislative session. By the end of this week, the Legislature will officially be halfway through their session, which means that they could — if they decide — be slated to end this year’s legislative session much earlier than the last day that they are constitutionally allowed to meet, which is May 20.

Last week, quite a bit happened. For starters, the CHOOSE Act, which threatens public education funding, passed out of the House. Two IVF bills designed to put a Band-Aid on the Alabama Supreme Court’s decision passed as well, one out of each chamber. The dangerous absentee ballot bill, SB 1, passed out of committee in the House. And last week also, the alarming child labor bill, which removes protections designed to ensure that 14- and 15-year-olds who work also perform well in school, was in committee in the House. This bill, however, was carried over and is expected to be heard in committee again this week.

Also in committee this week will be the anti-diversity, equity and inclusion bill, SB 129. Another IVF bill, SB 325, several voting rights bills — including one that allows people to easily update their address after voting, that’s HB 86 — one that prohibits political parties from disqualifying candidates from the ballot due to who they receive contributions from — that’s HB 186 — and also HB 218, which is a bill to allow improperly marked provisional and absentee ballots to be cured.

Also in committee this week is HB 238, which will remove the sales tax off of diapers, baby supplies, maternity clothing and women’s hygiene products. HB 227, which would reform our ethics laws, is also in committee this week. So is SB 4, which would prohibit most flags from being flown on public property. And lastly, HB 32 will be in committee this week. HB 32 is one of Arise’s priority bills, and this will amend our felony murder rule to make it less broad and more aligned with the way that most states apply this unique legal provision. HB 32 will also have a public hearing on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., and I myself will be testifying in supporting the bill, alongside some of our friends from Arise.

Although not listed on the Legislature’s website at the time of this recording, I also anticipate that the Senate will take up both gaming and the CHOOSE Act in committees this week. In fact, I would actually be surprised if they don’t take up both or either of these issues.

I mentioned earlier that at the end of this week, the Legislature will have used half of their allocated meeting days for this session. Yet also worth noting is that next week the Legislature will be going on a one-week break for in-district legislative meetings with constituents. Thus, if there’s anything that you would like to meet with your legislators about, please take advantage of the fact that they will be in district rather than at the State House next week.

I anticipate that next week’s update will be relatively short, but I will be sure to keep you posted on what happens during this week at the Legislature. Take care.