The second week of the Alabama Legislative session saw more action than the first, and looks as if things are beginning to speed up.
The House passed several pieces of legislation last week; however, the real story is what did not pass. Last Thursday, the House considered HB 37 by Rep. Arnold Mooney (R – Jefferson). HB 37 is a proposed constitutional amendment that would confirm Alabama as a right-to-work state. The bill failed on a party line vote, failing to reach the required 63 votes to pass a constitutional amendment because there were not enough Republicans on the House floor. The Senate decided to pass several sunset bills prior to the time given to them to do so. Sunset bills relate to state agencies, boards, or commissions that fall under the Sunset Law in Alabama. The legislature votes on these bills to reaffirm their existence, and business goes on as usual. These bills must be heard no later than the tenth legislative day. The Senate typically does not consider them until the tenth day; then they are used as a stalling mechanism for the minority since each bill can be debated for one hour.
Credit unions saw SB 209 introduced on Thursday in the Senate. SB 209, by Sen. Bill Holtzclaw (R-Madison) is the update to the state credit union act that the League and the Alabama Credit Union Administration have been working on for the past several months. SB 209 looks to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of Alabama’s state chartered credit unions. Some of the measures include updated investment language, a streamlined credit committee, additional parity provisions, and increased protections. SB 209 has been assigned to the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee and could be heard in committee as early as this week. It is more likely that it will be in committee sometime after the CUNA GAC in order to allow committee members the ability to fully digest the legislation since it is 51 pages long.
The only other business to note from last week was the canceling of the scheduled Senate Banking & Insurance Committee meeting on Wednesday. This was of note to credit unions because the only legislation scheduled to be heard was SB 91 by Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Morgan) dealing with the further regulation of payday lending. The League reported this last week and was rather surprised it was placed on a committee agenda so early in the session.