Update 5 on the 2016 Alabama Legislature’s current session
Here is a summary of major new laws passed by the current session of the Alabama legislature:
Alabama Act 2016-279: This act adds additional substances to Alabama’s list of controlled substances. The primary purpose of this act is to add synthetic substances or substance analogues to the list. These substances are often manufactured to evade the current statutory provisions.
Alabama Act 2016-280: This act concerns the financial institution excise tax and provides that tax credits going into effect on January 1, 2016, can only be used to offset the state portion of the tax liability and can’t be used to offset the portion of the excise tax that goes to municipal and county governments.
Alabama Act 2016-281: This act requires the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency to promote organ donation through providing a check box on applications for driver licenses.
Alabama Act 2016-282: This act is to be known as the Alabama Human Trafficking Safe Harbor Act. It prevents a sexually exploited child from being adjudicated delinquent or convicted of the crime of prostitution, but does allow for such a child to be adjudicated in need of supervision or being named a dependent child. A charge of prostitution against a sexually exploited child can’t be transferred from juvenile court to adult court. The act also requires that domestic or interstate businesses engaging in escort services have to register with the Alabama Secretary of State. It also allows any person arrested for prostitution to be held in custody up to 72 hours.
Alabama Act 2016-283: This act amends Alabama Code § 40-16-4 that concerns the financial institution excise tax. It removes a requirement that the apportionment formula prescribed for the tax be substantially the same as the formula recommended by the Multistate Tax Commission. The amended section gives the Alabama Department of Revenue the authority to write a regulation for apportionment.
Alabama Act 2016-292: This act broadens the authority of law enforcement officers to arrest drivers at the scene of an automobile accident when alcohol or controlled substances are involved. The amendment does not change the current law allowing officers to arrest drivers without having seen the violation. The amendment also allows the officer to issue a traffic citation.
Alabama Act 2016-293: This act authorizes the Alabama Department of Agriculture to begin an industrial hemp research program and authorizes the production of industrial hemp and products from hemp. In addition, it clarifies that industrial hemp is not to be considered marijuana.
Alabama Act 2016-294: This amends Alabama Code § 6-5-338 that concerns immunity from tort liability for state and local peace officers. It extends the immunity provided under this section to firefighter paramedics and firefighter emergency medical technicians licensed by Alabama, employed by an Alabama municipality or county, and on duty in support of a tactical law enforcement unit.
Alabama Act 2016-295: This act repeals special election procedures for the commission form of municipal government. This repeal begins at Alabama Code § 11-46-90.
Alabama Act 2016-296: This act amends Alabama Code § 27-25-3 that concerns licensing title insurance agents by the State Insurance Department and exempts licensed attorneys from licensure.
Alabama Act 2016-297: This act amends Alabama Code § 16-28-4 to change the age for children enrolling in first grade. Formerly, the law said a child enrolling in first grade had to be 6 years old as of September 1 of the year he or she begins first grade. This act changes that date to December 31.
Alabama Act 2016-298: This act amends Alabama’s Competitive Bid Law. It provides for the length of time certain contracts can be let, specifies requirements for purchases from a sole source, permits purchases from a vendor under a general services administration contract, and permits purchases of services under nationwide cooperative-purchasing programs.
Alabama Act 2016-300: This act amends Alabama Code § 17-6-25 that concerns the order in which offices (and candidates for those offices) are listed on Alabama election ballots. It moves delegates to national party conventions from second place to the end of the list, just before other party officers.
Alabama Act 2016-301: This act amends Alabama Code § 23-1-271 related to outdoor-advertising control on federally funded highways and provides that outdoor advertising be consistent with federal requirements.
Alabama Act 2016-304: This act amends Alabama Code § 16-25A-18 about generic medications. It allows a prescribing physician to indicate that a generic drug can be used instead of the “name brand” medication by checking a box or signing a prescription. It also provides for the ability to allow generic drugs in electronic prescriptions.
Alabama Act 2016-305: This act amends Alabama Code § 22-26-2 and repeals § 22-26-5 that requires plumbing inspections be done by county boards of health. The act prohibits the State Board of Health from requiring permits and inspection by county governments of plumbing within structures.
Alabama Act 2016-306: This act abolishes common-law marriage in Alabama. On or after January 1, 2017, no one can enter into a common-law marriage, but common-law marriages entered into before that date will continue to be valid.
Alabama Act 2016-310: This act amends the Jason Flatt Act (Alabama Code § 16-28B-8) which provides for annual suicide prevention training for school personnel. It requires training, creates an advisory committee, and mandates that each school board adopt a policy on suicide prevention. It also provides that the act doesn’t create a basis for suing school boards.
Alabama Act 2016-312: This act prohibits Alabama governmental bodies from entering into contracts with commercial entities that participate in boycotts against nations or business organizations that Alabama citizens can otherwise trade with (members of the World Trade Organization or other countries with which the United States has free-trade agreements). However, if the business is unwilling to certify that it is not participating in a boycott but is willing to sell its goods or services at a 20% discount, the governmental entities may contract with the commercial entity. This act doesn’t apply to transactions of less than $15,000.
Alabama Act 2016-313: This act amends Alabama Code § 34-30-1 and following that provide for the licensing of social workers, currently administered by the State Board of Social Work Examiners.
Alabama Act 2016-314: This act is to be known as the Apprenticeship Tax Credit Act. If an employer has an apprentice, as that term is defined by federal law and regulations, the employer may be eligible for a tax credit of no more than $1,000. The Workforce Development Division of the Alabama Department of Commerce will establish, by regulation, the amounts of such tax credits for various jobs. Tax credits may be awarded for only five or fewer apprentices.
Alabama Act 2016-315: This act amends Alabama Code § 20-2-213 about Alabama’s Controlled Substances Prescription Database. The amendment deletes veterinarians from the practitioners covered by the reporting provisions of the section.