MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Lawmakers finished up the legislative session Tuesday night, with leaders in both houses calling it historic.
In his first session as House Speaker, Nathaniel Ledbetter (R- Rainsville) says some of the highlights included a bill creating harsher penalties for fentanyl dealers and another streamlining the adoption process. Both have been signed into law by Gov. Kay Ivey.
He also touted tax cuts, like overtime tax elimination and grocery tax reduction.
“Largest tax cut in Alabama history, the rebates to the people of Alabama, along with ARPA funds, putting more water and sewer in peoples’ cities … It’s been a historic session in my opinion and it’s the work of the body that’s made that possible,” Ledbetter said.
Senate Pro Tem Greg Reed (R – Jasper) says the highlight for him was passing the “Game Plan” bills — an economic incentive package aiming to draw businesses to the state by providing financial incentives.
“Alabama has benefited tremendously from those incentives. Being able to promote our state, increase jobs, billions and billions of dollars in investment in Alabama, that’s the thing I’m most proud of in this session,” Reed said.
On the final day, lawmakers approved a bill increasing poll worker pay, as well as making it a crime to chemically endanger a first responder.
However, several bills did not make the cut, including one requiring students to attend kindergarten, which Gov. Ivey called for in her State of the State address. Another did not get a vote, making it a felony to assist someone will filling out or obtaining an absentee ballot, with some exceptions.
Reed says those bills aren’t necessarily going away, but just failed to pass this session.
“Those particular pieces of legislation needed more review, so I don’t think those pieces of legislation are gone from discussion by any means. I think they will very much be topics that we’ll be once again standing here talking about in coming months and in the next session,” Reed said.
This session was the first of the quadrennium for lawmakers. Barring any special sessions the Governor might call, they will be back next February for the 2024 legislative session.