2020 Regular Session: Scheduling Update

Legislative leaders this week provided important updates on the schedule for the remainder of the Alabama Legislature’s 2020 Regular Session.

As a reminder, legislators left Montgomery on March 12 for a planned spring break period, with representatives scheduled to return to the State House on March 26 and Senators on March 31. But “social distancing” guidelines and the outbreak of the coronavirus have prevented either chamber from fully restarting its work.  To comply with legislative rules, the House and Senate have convened and then immediately adjourned on two legislative days during this lengthy pause, meaning legislators have currently met for a total of 14 legislative days this session.

As announced by House Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) and Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh (R-Anniston), the Legislature will assemble for another convene/adjourn day on April 28, the 15th legislative day, with plans for a majority of legislators to return to Montgomery on May 4. In theory, Representatives and Senators could meet for the maximum 30 legislative days this session, since they have the ability to meet until midnight on May 18. But more than likely, there are five or fewer legislative days remaining before the session adjourns for good.

Given that timeline, it’s only natural for legislative leaders to limit the types of measures that will be addressed in committee and on the House and Senate floors.  Early indications are that items falling into five categories will be considered: (1) next year’s State General Fund budget, (2) next year’s Education Trust Fund budget, (3) a bond issue for public school construction projects, (4) local bills, and (5) confirmations (the Senate is required to confirm nominees for positions on many important public committees and boards).  If that holds true, many important pieces of legislation will be dead for the session, including the association’s top legislative priority: House Bill 207, the Financial Exploitation Prevention Act.

It is widely expected that Gov. Kay Ivey will call the Legislature into at least one Special Session before the end of the year, and if that happens, many bills from the Regular Session, including the Financial Exploitation Prevention Act, will likely be reintroduced.  Updates to this information will be passed along to association members as it becomes available.

As of the end of the 14th legislative day, legislators have introduced 780 bills – 457 in the House and 323 in the Senate – and 176 resolutions. Of those 956 measures, 37 have been enacted into law as of this writing. The 2020 Regular Session can last for no more than 30 legislative days and must end on or before May 18.