Legislative Update Week 2

I am going to try and do an update on the Session every week, usually on Thursday or Friday of the bills that have passed or are going through the process that I believe are important.

Five of the Legislative days have been used so far this session.  During this week several “Feel Good” bills and resolutions that do nothing to help Alabamians took up a lot of the legislature’s time. SB32, HB100, and HJR20 to name a few.  But several bills are worth mentioning.  This will have editorial comments by me also.

Fentanyl Bill
Sen. Cam Ward has the Fentanyl Bill (SB154) that adds Fentanyl to the Schedule I of the Controlled Substance List; this would make it a crime to possess or distribute Fentanyl without prescription or authority to prescribe.

In the bill, it also increases the penalty for possession and distribution of Heroin, Fentanyl and or any synthetic controlled substance opioid analogue.  Changes illegal possession from a class D Felony to a class C Felony.  It has mandatory minimum sentence from 3 years to a life sentence depending on the weight.  A significant increase in the penalty for that crime.

The bill allows a person to be charged with Trafficking if they possess more than 50 packets of Heroin, Fentanyl, and any synthetic Fentanyl analogue.  Trafficking charges are usually based upon the weight of the illegal drugs the person is in possession of or that can be connected to them.

Judicial Override in Capital Cases
Rep. England introduced HB32, which prevents a judge in a Capital Murder Case from over-riding the Jury’s recommendation of sentencing the Defendant to Life Without Eligibility of Parole and sentencing the Defendant to death. The bill had its first reading, and the House Judiciary Committee passed it.  It will now go in the hopper to be brought before the House for a vote.

Redistribution of Circuit Judges
Sen. Orr introduced SB 90, that would set up a committee that allocates the number of Circuit Court Judges to the Circuits based on the committee’s review of its criteria that would be developed. This would mean that some Circuits would lose judges and other Circuits would gain Judges.  The Bill has passed the Senate and is currently in the House Judiciary Committee for review.

Parole and ID’s
Sen. Ross introduced SB102 that would have the Parole board to set up a program to issue non-Driver’s License ID’s to people when they are paroled. This would speed up the time it takes a parolee to get back into the free will once they are released.  The Bill passed the Senate and is now in the House referred to Public Safety Committee.

Increases Limits on Appointed Legal Work
Sen. Figures introduced SB74 that raises the limits on what attorneys can receive for appointed indigent defense and work in juvenile court. The Bill passed the Senate and is now in the House referred to Judiciary Committee.

Sen. Williams introduced SB61 that would revise the extradition language to authorize extradition of a person to another state if the person has been charged, whether by indictment or by other criminal procedure, in the other state for committing an act resulting in a crime in that state. The Bill passed the Senate and is now in the House referred to Judiciary Committee.

There are several bills in the House and Senate Judiciary Committees that you may want to keep an eye on.  Several bills that increase the punishment for different crimes, bills that deal with the Death Penalty, and two bills that deal with limiting what courts can do to defendants that cannot pay fines or costs.

The House dealt mainly with the Sunset Laws this week.

The Legislature has a website that allows you to look at bills and where they are in the process.  The website also explains the Legislative Process.

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