Legislative briefs for Wednesday, Jan. 19

Legislative briefs for Wednesday, Jan. 19

By MARY SELL and MADDISON BOOTH, Alabama Daily News

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Alabama Legislature continued its 2022 regular session Tuesday advancing legislation and preparing to begin a special session specifically to deal with federal relief funds.

Here’s what happened at the State House.

Tax cut bills clear first vote

The Senate education budget committee approved two tax-reduction bills from committee chair Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur. 

Senate Bill 18 would allow up to $10,000 from defined contribution deferred compensation plans, such as 401Ks, to be exempt from income tax for individuals 65 and older. This exemption will be phased in over a two-year period. When in full effect, the bill would reduce revenue to the Education Trust Fund by about $40 million per year.

Senate Bill 19 would increase the optional standard deduction by $1,000 for couples married filing jointly and $500 for those single, married filing separately and head of household. 

The bill also increases the adjusted gross income range allowable for the maximum optional standard deduction to $35,000, up from $33,000, and the adjusted gross income range allowable for dependent exemption to $50,000, up from $20,000, to increase the threshold at which the state imposes individual income taxes. It would reduce revenue to the Education Trust Fund by about $17 million per year.

Orr said that with record revenues in recent years, now is the time to consider some tax cuts and he’s open to other suggestions.

“We’ve got a lot of different paths we can take, but I think helping retirees and working families is a noble one,” he said.

The bills now go to the full Senate for a vote.

House approves NIL repeal bill

The Alabama House on Tuesday approved a bill to repeal a 2021 law allowing college athletes to be compensated whenever their name, image or likeness is used in promotional material.

Rep. Kyle South, R-Fayette, is the sponsor of House Bill 76 and sponsored the 2021 NIL bill that became law.

South has since said the original law is more restrictive than the NCAA guidelines adopted last year, putting Alabama at a recruiting disadvantage.

The bill now moves to the Senate.

Committee approves bill limiting law enforcements’ use of AI

Senate Government Affairs Committee approved with bipartisan support Sen. Arthur Orr’s Senate Bill 56. It would put limits on how law enforcement agencies can use artificial intelligence and facial recognition to make arrests.

The bill says “a state or local law enforcement agency may not use the results of artificial intelligence or a facial recognition service as the sole basis to establish probable cause in a criminal investigation or to make an arrest.” 

The results of a facial recognition service may be used only in conjunction with other information and evidence lawfully obtained by a law enforcement officer to establish probable cause in a criminal investigation or to make an arrest.