1. Medical marijuana bill clears first of four votes
- Legislation to allow and regulate the use of medical marijuana cleared its first vote on Wednesday and now moves to the State Senate, where about half its members voted last year to approve a similar bill.
- That committee voted 8-1 to advance Senate Bill 165 with one abstention.
- Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence, titled his bill the “Compassion Act.” It creates an appointed nine-member Medical Cannabis Commission to oversee regulations and licensing for medical marijuana cultivators, processors and dispensaries and requires a statewide seed-to-sale tracking system for all cannabis in the state.
- Sen. Larry Stutts, R-Tuscumbia, was the only “No” vote. He had several concerns, the biggest being increased access to marijuana.
- The bill does not allow for the smoking or vaping of marijuana or edible forms of the drug. However, treatment in the form of pills, gelatinous cubes, gels, oils or creams, transdermal patches and nebulizers would be allowed.
- Users would receive a state-issued medical cannabis card and an electronic patient registry would be created.
- The bill allows for 34 total dispensaries in the state and mandates no more than 70 doses per patient at one time.
- Another approved amendment Wednesday addresses workman’s compensation by saying a person who has a medical cannabis card and is proven to be at fault cannot file a claim.
- Read the full story from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.
2. Reed speaks out on occupational tax
- Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed on Wednesday doubled down in his accusations of government overreach by state lawmakers.
- House Bill 147, sponsored by Rep. Chris Sells, R-Greenville, would limit municipalities from enacting occupational taxes by requiring any such policy to pass the Legislature as local legislation. The bill, which passed the House last week, now only needs a vote in the Senate and Gov. Kay Ivey’s signature to become law.
- In response to the bill’s progress in the State House, Montgomery City Council on Tuesday night voted to pass an ordinance implementing a 1% occupational tax on all those working inside the city limits starting in 2021.
- Reed on Wednesday said the legislation was filed without any consultation with city leaders.
- “… the fact that House Bill 147 was presented without consultation, without any discussion with local officials to me was disingenuous. To me, it was not done with the right motivation, it was not done in the spirit of cooperation,” Reed said.
- Sells on Wednesday said he wasn’t sure when a Senate vote on his bill will happen. He also said he met with Reed for about two hours this week to discuss the bill. He said he learned that about 50,000 people live and work in Montgomery and another 60,000 work in but live outside the capital city.
- “That’s my concern, the 60,000 who can’t vote,” Sells said. “Those 60,000 bring their billfolds, their purses, their credit cards (to Montgomery) and spend their money.”
- Full story from ADN’s Mary Sell & Devin Pavlou HERE.
3. Transgender bill advances
- Transgender students would be required to play sports under their “gender assignment at birth” instead of how they live under a bill approved Wednesday by a committee in the Alabama House of Representatives.
- The House State Government Committee voted 8-4 for the Gender Is Real Legislative Act, or GIRL Act, by Republican Rep. Chris Pringle. The bill, which awaits input from the full House, would ban K-12 schools from allowing trans athletes to compete under their gender identity. It would instead require students to participate under the gender listed on their original birth certificate.
- Opponents criticized the Alabama measure as motivated by fear and discrimination toward trans people. Pringle said the bill is designed to ensure a level playing field in girls’ sporting events.
- “These young ladies work very hard in order to condition themselves and go out to compete,” Pringle said. “I want to make sure the person that is competing against them does not have an unfair advantage based on the biological effects of testosterone.”
- Full story from Kim Chandler HERE.
4. ‘Alternative cover’ landfill bill up today
- Legislation to clarify that landfills can use materials other than dirt to cover new garbage each day is raising concerns about what the Alabama Department of Environmental Management has permitted as “alternative cover,” including coal ash, and its permitting process.
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations say landfill operators must cover disposed solid waste with six inches of earthen material at the end of each operating day “to control disease vectors, fires, odors, blowing litter, and scavenging.”
- But late last year, landfills had to stop using the alternatives after communities surrounding two filed a lawsuit that argued ADEM wasn’t making landfills demonstrate the effectiveness of their alternative covers.
- The House is expected to debate the issue again this morning.
- Read more from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.
5. Stacy Column: The Home Stretch
- I wrote a column about the Senate race entering the home stretch.
- I didn’t try to tell you which candidate to vote for or which I think will win.
- Instead, it’s just a snapshot of the race as it exists right now, with a glimpse into how campaigns think and what’s likely to take place in the final eleven days.
- Here’s a simile-forlorn excerpt that is exceedingly unhelpful to understanding the larger piece:
- My full column HERE.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Medical marijuana bill clears first of four votes
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama lawmakers advance bill aimed at transgender athletes
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