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Top 10 bills of the regular session

The 2024 Alabama regular legislative session ended on Thursday, May 9. A lot of bills passed and became law this session, and many didn't – gambling was one of those. These are the top ten issues that the Legislature actually passed.

School Choice - Governor Kay Ivey got behind and the Legislature passed legislation that will give every parent in the state a chance to go the public, private, or religious school that best meets the needs of that family. Up to $7,000 will be paid to the school of the parent's choice. The program is limited to just $100 million in the first year, but there is an opportunity for the Legislature to grow the program in subsequent years if the demand is there.

Record budgets – conservative budgeting, a decade of economic development focused on growth, and overspending by the federal government has led to soaring state revenues. Alabama is in the strongest shape fiscally it has ever been in and that translated into legislators dividing up $14 billion in two budgets and three supplemental appropriations.

IVF bill – legislators gave fertility clinics engaged in in-vitro fertilization limited civil and criminal immunity allowing families undergoing these treatments to continue receiving treatments in Alabama. This became necessary after a controversial Alabama Supreme court ruling made the legal validity of these treatments suspect.

Public Health Officer bill – the Legislature passed legislation to make the Alabama Public Health Officer a cabinet member. Since the 1870s, the position – one of the most powerful in state government – has been appointed by the leadership of the Medical Association of the State pf Alabama.

Secret ballots for union votes - the Legislature passed legislation clawing back incentives to businesses that unionize without having a secret ballot vote. This prevents unions from using card check to unionize without a vote.

Stricter penalties on false reporting of crimes - the Legislature passed legislation increasing the punishment for persons convicted a falsifying a report of a crime. The goal is to deter people from making false reports to law enforcement.

Childcare tax credit - the Legislature passed, and the Governor signed legislation creating new tax credits for working families and employers to pay for childcare. For too many families, childcare is a barrier to entering the workforce.

Geological pore storage of gases – the Legislature approved legislation to allow manufacturers and power generators to store waste gases – particularly carbon dioxide (CO2) underground in pore space that was previously created by the pumping of oil and natural gas. This will allow industrialists to store greenhouse emissions underground rather than releasing them into the atmosphere allowing them to meet new EPA regulations on emissions protecting Alabama jobs.

Allowed Joe Biden on the Alabama ballot – the 2024 Democratic National Convention is after the deadline for qualifying for the Alabama ballot. This meant that Joseph R. Biden and Kamala Harris would not even appear on the ballot. Gov. Ivey has signed legislation giving the parties 74 days instead of 82 to make certain that the Democratic nominees for President and Vice President will be on the November 5, 2024 general election ballot.

Cameras to arrest dangerous drivers – we have all been on the road and seen people drag racing or dangerous exhibition driving. If a police officer was not there to witness the action, then they get away with it. To deal with this growing problem the Legislature passed and the governor signed legislation allowing law enforcement agencies in the state to use cameras to catch persons who are racing or driving extremely recklessly – so called exhibition driving. This does not allow the use of speed or traffic light cameras.

The Alabama Legislature will return in 2025 for their next scheduled session.

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