Prefiled bills in state Senate tackle firearms, taxation

Published 4:56 pm Thursday, January 2, 2020

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With the first day of Alabama’s 2020 Legislative Session only a month away, more than 20 bills have already been filed spanning a wide array of issues – in the Alabama Senate, those bills are taking aim at firearm regulations, taxation, education and more.

Alabama Sen. Gerald Allen, R-Tuscaloosa, has once again filed a bill that would repeal wide swaths of the state’s regulations on carrying firearms, including a law that requires anyone carrying a firearm in their vehicle to have a concealed carry permit.

Specifically, Allen’s bill would repeal portions of the 1975 Code of Alabama dealing with carrying firearms in wildlife management areas or into law enforcement offices where pistol permits are issued.

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Additionally, the bill would repeal sections related to the concealed carry of weapons, the carrying of a pistol on private property, the posession of a weapon during commission of crime and pistols and pistol permits.

Allen has introduced the bill multiple times only to be met by stiff opposition from law enforcement groups across the state who insist that the bill would make their jobs more dangerous.

Alabama Sen. Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham, has introduced a bill that would allow the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court to appoint circuit or district judges to serve in another Jefferson County.

Under current law, the Chief Justice may appoint a judge to serve within another judicial circuit to address court congestion or delay and other issues, but those provisions do not apply in Jefferson County – Smitherman’s bill would make them applicable.

Alabama Sen. Chris Elliott, R-Fairhope, has introduced a bill that would authorize the expenditure of funds received from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, pursuant to the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006, to be spent for coastal conservation, restoration and protection.

A second bill filed by Elliott would provide an income tax credit for Alabamians who pay toll road or bridge fees to the Alabama Toll Road, Bridge and Tunnel Authority and allow for the Alabama Department of Revenue to adopt rules regarding the tax credit.

A prefiled bill from Alabama Sen. Donnie Chesteen, R-Geneva, would provicde an income tax deducation for military service members stationed out of state and a bill from Alabama Sen. Shay Shelnutt, R-Trussville, would allow graduates from non-public education programs to be certified as law enforcement officers – currently, the Alabama Peace Officers’ Standards and Training (APOST) Commission requires that officers be graduates of a State Department of Education accredited or approved high school or possess a general educational development (GED) certification.

Alabama Sen. Tom Whatley, R-Auburn, has prefiled four bills – the first would require and provide for the use of ignition interlock devices (IIDs) or other alcohol-monitoiring devices for people charged with driving under the influence (DUI); the second would expand survivor and education benefits to Alabama National Guard members who are on state active duty for less than the current 30-day minimum; the third would extend educational tuition reimbursement to Guard members dually or concurrently enrolled in high school or college and set a cap for how much reimbursement can be handed out; the fourth would require removable handicap placards displayed in vehicles to include a photograph of the diabled person to whom the placard was issued.

Alabama Sen. Sam Givhan, R-Huntsville, has prefiled a bill that would cut the term of county school board members from six to four years