Bills that Did NOT Become Law

  • Published: June 22, 2015
  • 2015 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature

    Final Legislative Report 2015 | ACCA Bills 
    New Laws Impacting Counties | Bills that Did NOT Become Law | Local Bills

    Construction Manager At-Risk
    HB 275 by Rep. Mark Tuggle

    This bill would have allowed governmental entities planning public works projects in excess of $25 million to utilize the construction manager/general contractor or design-build method of selecting primary and subcontractors for the project instead of complying with the bidding requirements of the public works law. The Association has historically been leery of this proposal because it largely “overrides” the public works law’s competitive bid process and gives much of the decision-making authority to the construction manager instead of the contracting entity.

    While this year’s version would have had little application to county government because it exempted road construction projects from utilizing this process, the Association monitored the legislation very closely to ensure it would not negatively-impact county government.  This legislation has been a priority for many large contractors in the state for the last few years and it is anticipated that some version of this legislation will be introduced again in an upcoming session.

    Rescue Squad Association Exemption
    HB 289 by Rep. Danny Garrett and SB 217 by Sen. Steve Livingston

    This bill would have exempted the Alabama Association of Rescue Squads (and its members in good standing) from any and all state, county, and municipal sales, use, and lodging taxes. While the Association typically opposes all tax exemptions, this bill is particularly disturbing because it would have provided an exemption, not only to rescue squads, but to the association for this group.  This clearly would set a very dangerous precedent.  This bill has been introduced for the last several years and will most likely come up again in a future session.


    Probate Judge Pay Raise
    SB 369 by Sen. Tom Whatley and HB 447 by Rep. Matt Fridy

    This bill proposed to increase the base salary of probate judges AND provide them a 1.25% annual step increase based on the probate judge’s years of service on the bench. If this bill had passed, it would have cost counties across the state approximately $1.3 million each year. While legislators on both sides of the aisle adamantly opposed the formula presented in the bill, there was some discussion about finding a way to ensure probate judges received regular pay increases.

    The Association staff anticipates the Probate Judge Association will introduce a revised version of this bill next legislative session.


    Probate Judge Retirement
    SB 448 by Sen. Shay Shelnutt

    This bill would have transferred responsibility for the employer contribution for probate judges’ retirement to the county commission.  Currently, the employer contribution is paid by the State, while counties are responsible for all other aspects of maintaining the county probate office, including salaries, supplies, and training costs. If this bill had passed, it would have cost counties across the state approximately $2.5 million each year.

    The Association was able to keep this bill from being considered on the Senate floor only because of the flood of calls senators received from county officials and administrators.  As the Legislature looks everywhere for solutions to the state general fund woes, it is very possible this legislation could return during the special session or an upcoming general session. If that happens, counties will be called on to repeat their efforts to educate legislators about the dangers of this legislation.


    Prohibit Local Vehicle Tax
    HB 268 by Rep. Steve Clouse

    This bill would have changed the rates for motor vehicle sales and use tax from two percent to three percent and prohibited local sales and use tax on motor vehicle purchases.  An increase in the state tax on motor vehicles is very likely to be pursued in the special session as a possible revenue source for the state general fund.  It will be important for counties to work against efforts to prohibit local taxes in exchange for an increase in the state tax rate on motor vehicles.


    APOST Continuing Education
    HB 653 by Rep. Connie Rowe

    Under existing law, officers employed by a sheriff’s department are only required to complete annual continuing education if their county commission requires the training. This bill would have mandated this training for county law enforcement officers.

    This bill would have been an unfunded mandate since counties would have been required to fund the training as well as all associated travel and overtime costs.  Additionally, it would have raised liability concerns in the event a deputy involved in an incident failed to obtain the required training.  While counties make every effort to ensure that county law enforcement officers receive ongoing and updated training, the mandated provision would have been costly and unnecessary.

    This bill was introduced late in the session and it is unclear whether it will be re-introduced next year.  However, counties should watch for and be prepared to lobby against this mandated approach to training.


    No Permits for Guns in Vehicles
    SB 14 by Sen. Gerald Allen

    This bill would have allowed persons to have loaded and concealed handguns in their vehicles WITHOUT going through the background checks and reviews necessary to secure a pistol permit. The Association worked closely with the Sheriffs and others in law enforcement to oppose this legislation, which played a significant role in the bill stalling. However, this legislation has strong support among several gun rights’ advocates, so it is likely to reappear in a later legislative session.


    Counties Pay for Audits
    SB 498 by Sen. Steve Livingston

    Currently, the costs associated with county audits and examinations performed by the Department of Examiners is absorbed by the state. This bill would have required counties and other governmental entities to pay the costs of all audits, with fees collected deposited into the State General Fund.

    This proposal has been introduced in past sessions where the state has faced revenue crises such as the current one, and for this reason, the Association staff anticipates this bill may be introduced again in the upcoming special session or in another regular legislative session in the future.


    Zoning in Police Jurisdiction
    HB 370 by Rep. Reed Ingram and SB 309 by Sen. Dick Brewbaker

    This bill would have authorized a municipality to exercise zoning authority in its police jurisdiction if that municipality is in a county in which another municipality located in the county already has zoning authority outside its corporate limits.  Although the bill was intended to have limited applicability, the Association expressed concerns about expanding the authority granted to any municipality in the unincorporated areas of the county.  It is unclear whether this proposal will be re-introduced in a future session, but the Association staff will monitor closely for legislation granting this authority on a limited or statewide basis.


    Municipality Taking Over County Road
    HB 422 by Rep. Kerry Rich and SB 394 by Sen. Cam Ward

    Current law provides that a municipality automatically assumes responsibility for a county road annexed into the corporate limits of a municipality—by operation of law. This bill would have required the county to take affirmative action “approving” the transfer, reversing a county-supported law passed twenty years ago.  Both counties and municipalities opposed this measure in House and Senate committees, and the bill received little legislative support; however, it appears the supporters of this proposal may return with similar legislation during the next legislative session.


    Initiative and Referendum
    HB 78 by Rep. Mike Ball and SB 73 by Sen. Dick Brewbaker

    This proposed constitutional amendment, which is introduced during almost every legislative session, would have authorized a process whereby citizens of Alabama could propose the enactment of general laws and constitutional amendments by an initiative measure. This dangerous proposal could result in citizens requiring legislation affecting the operation of state or local government and has been actively opposed by the Association in every session when introduced.


    Lubricating Oil Excise Tax
    HB 587 by Rep. Terri Collins

    This bill, as introduced, would have eliminated the excise tax on lubricating oil currently distributed pursuant to the gas tax formula and replaced that tax with a sales and use tax earmarked for education. Last year alone, approximately $800,000 in lubricating oil excise tax proceeds were distributed to counties for road and bridge projects.  Following a committee hearing, a substitute was proposed that would have distributed a portion of the sales tax to counties pursuant to the current gas tax formula.  However, counties would have been prohibited from collecting any local sales tax on lubricating oil.

    The bill was proposed as part of the House Republican Caucus’s budget proposal, but along with other measures in that package, was removed from the slate of proposed legislation after it became clear that none of the proposals in the package had adequate legislative support to pass.