The Alabama Legislature ended its regular session on May 18 following a nearly two-month break because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The public wasn’t allowed inside the State Capitol in the final days of session because of the stay-at-home order Gov. Kay Ivey issued on March 13.
Prior to the shutdown, NFIB was successful in passing House Bill 158, introduced by Rep. Paul Lee of Dothan. The bill, which received unanimous approval by both chambers, prohibits a third-party audit and collection firm from charging back the cost of an audit plus travel expenses to the taxpayer. Ninety-five percent of NFIB members who responded to the 2020 Alabama member ballot supported the measure.
A total of 856 bills were introduced during the regular session, and only 13 general bills received final passage, including both the Education Trust Fund Budget and the General Fund Budget. The legislature didn’t approve any additional taxes or mandates, and none of the bills we opposed passed.
One important measure that didn’t pass was Senate Bill 330 by Sen. Arthur Orr of Decatur. It would have protected businesses, nonprofits, educational instructions, churches, and other entities from lawsuits related to COVID-19. Orr’s bill passed committee but wasn’t called for a floor vote.
Governor Ivey did issue an executive order using language from S.B. 330 to protect entities from lawsuits during the COVID 19 emergency. Orr plans to reintroduce his bill in a special session expected to be called as early as August.