Weekly Brief: Agency Contracts, Apprenticeship Office, RV Park Eviction Bill

Weekly Brief: Agency Contracts, Apprenticeship Office, RV Park Eviction Bill

By CAROLINE BECK and MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News

Lawmakers push back on calls to boycott Alabama

At the Legislative Contract Review Committee Thursday, lawmakers said they don’t want to do business with states that are threatening to boycott Alabama over the new near-total abortion ban law passed this session.

The comments came over an Alabama Department of Finance $2 million contract for operational support of an accounting system.

Sen. Tom Butler, R-Madison, noticed Infiniti Consulting Group, Inc. is based in California. Butler said that he had a hard time justifying sending money to California after different companies or lawmakers there said a boycott should be taken up against Alabama after lawmakers and Gov. Kay Ivey recently approved a ban on almost all abortions.

“I have a hard time spending any money in California,” Butler said during the meeting. “You might want to let them know that we’re not happy with what is coming out of that state as well.”

Rep. Danny Garrett, R-Trussville, agreed with Butler and seconded the motion to hold off considering the contract.

“This shouldn’t be political but I think we have to consider that until they stop boycotting us as well,” Garrett said.

Democrat leaders in Colorado and Maryland called for boycotts on travel to Alabama last month.

They committee can’t kill contracts, but it can delay them for up to 45 days. The motion to delay the contract was approved on a voice vote.

The law that makes the performance of abortions a felony goes into effect in November but has been challenged.

Corrections hires outside attorney on DOJ investigation

The Alabama Department of Corrections has a $200,000 contract with the law firm Maynard Cooper & Gale related to possible litigation from the U.S. Department of Justice’s investigation into Alabama prisons.

In April, the DOJ released a report outlining extreme violence and sexual torture in men’s prisons that could violate the Eighth Amendment because of the system’s inability to provide safe conditions. The DOJ’s investigation is ongoing.

Several Alabama lawmakers have said a special session of the Legislature is expected in the fall to deal with prison reform and crowded conditions.

Gov. Kay Ivey is the only one who can call a special session and Thursday said she hasn’t yet decided, but talks are ongoing.

“We just got done with the regular session and I’ve been working with the members of the legislature, so we’ll be in touch,” Ivey told reporters.

Apprentice office, tax incentives increases approved

The Legislature in its recent session approved the creation of the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship within the Alabama Department of Commerce. The bill also expands possible tax credits for employers who hire and train apprentices.

“It will target high schoolers earlier,” Orr said about Senate Bill 295. “If you get them younger, get them a skill and a credential and they graduate high school with that skill, they’ll have a much more enhanced earning power at a younger age.”

Orr said people don’t have go to a university in order to make a good living.

“Setting up this office really should step up awareness on how people can get more credentials,” Orr said. “Educating people to opportunities out there is going to pay tremendous dividents to our state in the years ahead.” 

The bill was awaiting Gov. Kay Ivey’s signature Friday.

RV park eviction bill 

A bill approved by the Alabama Legislature before they adjourned May 31st makes it easier for recreational vehicle parks to kick out guests for certain actions.

House Bill 456 allows RV parks to remove a person who is illegally in possession of a controlled substance, is causing damage to the park or was disturbing “the peace and comfort of other persons.”

An amendment was put in House Bill 456 that says a person cannot be removed from the RV park because of their failure to pay the rent on time.

Rep. Phillip Pettus, R-Greenhill, said he sponsored the legislation after owners of RV parks told him they wanted the same rights as motel owners. 

“An owner of an RV park approached me and said that if someone comes in his park trying to sell marijuana or any drugs, they can’t do anything about it,” Pettus said.  “There were just no laws when it came to RV parks. This will make it so they don’t have to go to an attorney and go to court, and this will just speed the process up altogether to get that person out of the park.”

The bill is awaiting Gov. Kay Ivey’s signature.