On tap today at the State House: Wednesday, March 3

On tap today at the State House: Wednesday, March 3

By MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News

Today is week four Wednesday and the 11th legislative day of the session. That means committee meetings all day and House and Senate action in the afternoon.
Some of the notable bills in committee today include:
  • The House Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee meets at 9 a.m. and is expected to vote on Rep. Laura Hall’s 396 to allow absentee voting without having to provide on the several reasons allowed under current law. The ground has shifted on this bill since the public hearing as Secretary of State John Merrill withdrew his support after Republicans started mounting opposition.
  • House Bill 245 from Rep. Lynn Greer, R-Rogersville, would increase the possible moving violations drivers can have increased fines for in road construction zones. It’s in the House Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure Committee at 9 a.m.
  • The Senate Health Committee’s noon meeting includes Sen. Jim McClendon’s Senate Bill 240 to abolish the State Board of Public Health’s authority over the Alabama Department of Public Health. It also abolishes the position of the State Health Officer, currently selected by the board, and creates a secretary of the ADPH, a cabinet-level position appointed by the governor.
  • The Senate Education Policy Committee’s 1 p.m. meeting including Rodger Smitherman’s Senate Bill 94 to delay portions of the 2019 Alabama Literacy Act. The act currently requires that starting in the 2021-2022 school year, third grade students must demonstrate sufficient reading skills before being promoted to fourth grade. Smitherman’s bill delays that retention requirement until the 2024-2025 school year.
  •  The House Judiciary Committee meets at 1:30 p.m. and its agenda includes Rep. Juandalynn Givan’s House Bill 8 to repeal the Alabama Memorial Protection Act and allow municipalities to remove without fines Confederate statues and other historic markers.
  • The same committee will also take up Rep. Chris England’s House Bill 107 to repeal the state’s Habitual Felony Offender Act.
  • Also at 1:30 is the House Ways and Means General Fund, where the 2022 General Fund could see its first action. It’s House Bill 309.

The House meets at 1 p.m. and has one bill on its special order calendar, House Bill 227 to offer tax credits for homeowners who install storm shelters.

The Senate gavels in at 4 p.m.