The 2018 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature adjourned on Thursday, March 29. Following general elections in 2018, the 2019 Session will commence in March. Since many legislators are not seeking re-election, there will be several new members in both houses.

First Amendment

  • PASS - SB181, the Ten Commandments bill, was passed, and since it proposes an amendment to the Alabama Constitution, it will be on the ballot in November. This legislation is unnecessary and could lead to costly litigation. We have issued a response here.

  • FAIL - HB94 would have made counter-protesting a punishable offense. We planned to testify against this bill, but after the public hearing was cancelled, it did not come back up in committee.

Criminal Justice

  • PASS - SB39 was a broadly debated bill on fentanyl trafficking, and our efforts lead to keeping it in check by eliminating mandatory minimum sentencing that would have strained our already overburdened prisons and not addressed the underlying problems of substance abuse.

  • FAIL - SB84, a bill we supported to ban racial profiling by law enforcement, made it through the Senate but failed on final passage in the House. We hope to pick up on that bill and on legislation to Ban the Box (SB198) next year.

  • FAIL - Lastly, a major overhaul of the state’s juvenile justice system failed to receive final approval despite a major effort from a broad coalition. In the end, individual legislators received intensive communications from their judges back home who opposed the bill – despite the fact that members of the judiciary served on the Task Force which developed the legislation. We hope to take that bill back to the body next year.

On the bright side, for the first time in several years, no new legislation limiting reproductive rights or LGBTQ rights was passed.

Thanks to our partners and lobbyists working in the legislature to bring justice to Alabama, and to everyone who called, wrote, and emailed your representatives. Your voices make a difference.

 

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