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  • 2021 State Legislative Priorities & Successes

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    Each year, the Chamber compiles a legislative agenda listing specific issues that can affect our area's business community. During the Legislative session this year, the Chamber closely monitored bills and proposed regulations related to these issues and worked to ensure business interests were considered and concerns heard by elected officials. This session, the Chamber's Legislative Priorities included the following in four primary categories:

    Business & Economic Development
    • Supporting statewide infrastructure investments to sustain and promote growth.
    • Technology/innovation/smart city initiatives that will assist with developing incentive-based programs for high-growth startups, that will promote and assist new business recruitment, boost cyber, technology and innovation growth.
    • Continuing and enhancing the Alabama Jobs Act put in place to reward the creation of jobs, investment of capital and to encourage Alabama-based companies to refurbish and upgrade existing operations.
    • Continuing and enhancing the Grow Alabama Credit that assists with development of local building sites to attract business and industry.
    • Supporting a research and development income tax credit that parallels the federal R&D credit, with an extra incentive of a qualified institution performing the research that will result in job and industry growth.
    • Streamlining sales tax collections by allowing state and local governments to require the larger online vendors to collect sales tax from their customers in Alabama and remit the tax to the Alabama Department of Revenue (ADOR) as the agent for both state and local governments.
    • Initiatives to enhance Montgomery’s tourism industry and historical significance.
    • Initiatives that assist cyber and technology growth as well as small and minority business development.
    SUCCESSFUL LEGISLATION
    • HB 170 - Protects Federal COVID-19 relief funds from state tax.
    • HB 192 - Extends the Growing Alabama Act.
    • SB 30 - Provides limited liability protection for businesses and other entities from lawsuits related to COVID-19.
    • SB 274 - Creates the COVID-19 Recovery Capital Credit Protection Act of 2021, legislation giving new and expanding industries in the state a break on workforce requirements if COVID-19 caused hiring delays.
    • HB 281 - Extends the historic preservation tax credit for five years.
     
    Small Business
    • Initiatives that assist cyber and technology growth as well as small and minority business development.
    SUCCESSFUL LEGISLATION
    • HB 103 - Allows businesses and churches to stay open during states of emergency.
    • HB 437 - Sets up rules and limits on wine delivery to private homes from manufacturers and distributors.
    • HB 539 - Increases the daily limit of how much beer and liquor may be sold by brewpubs and certain breweries and distilleries to customers for off-premises consumption.
    • HB 540 - Creates the Alabama Innovation Corporation, with the goal to help increase Alabama’s competitiveness in technology and entrepreneurship.
    • HB 609 - Allows the Alabama Innovation Corporation to make matching grants of up to $250,000 to entities that receive federal Small Business Innovation Research grants or Technology Transfer Research grants. It also sets guidelines for awarding the matching grants.
    • HB 473 - Creates Rural Jobs Act that provides capital in the amount of $50 million that must be used to help small businesses in rural and economically impoverished communities in the state.
    • SB 126 -Allows for wine, beer and spirits to be delivered to private homes.
    • SB 373 - Requires the Alabama Department of Labor to recover overpayments in unemployment compensation.
    • SB 384 - Provides for the sale of alcoholic beverages in a community development district.
     
    Military
    • Initiatives that grow the military and defense missions within the River Region.
    • Initiatives that provide educational, employment and business opportunities for military families.
    SUCCESSFUL LEGISLATION
    • SB 130 - Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Interstate Compact, which allows licensees authorized to practice among compact member states.
    • SB 124 - Amends the law pertaining to the Board of Medical Examiners and Medical Licensure Commission to further provide for the confidentiality of board meetings, to update accreditation organizations, and further provide for the requirements for certificate of qualification. It also adds to the law qualifications and procedures for issuing temporary certificates of qualification and licenses to physicians and assistants to physician in the state under military orders.
    • SB 103 - Amends the School Choice and Student Opportunity Act to allow for the formation of charter schools on or near military installations, with a focus on serving military dependents.
    • SB 102 - Psychologists, Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact, which authorizes licensed psychologists to practice on a limited basis among compact member states.
    • SB 83 - Amends a law to provide that a student who is the minor child of a military service member stationed in Alabama may register for enrollment at an Alabama public institution of higher education as a resident student and that their resident status remains valid even if the parent is reassigned out of state if student maintains continuous enrollment at the institution.
    • SB 82 - Physical Therapy Licensure Compact, which allows licensed physical therapists to legally practice among compact member states.
    • SB 80 - Amends sections and adds sections to a law related to military land use to require counties and municipalities to give notice to military installations regarding tall structures and wind energy facilities.
    • SB 16 - Amends a law to authorize the State Board of Education to establish and issue an alternative teaching certificate to certain qualified former members of the U.S. Armed Forces or their spouses. The legislation pertaining to the military that was put forward by the Military Stability Commission and passed in the 2021 session will have discernable and powerful positive impacts on River Region military partners by improving the quality of life for military families. It also proves the power of collaboration; the Chamber’s governmental and military affairs teams worked hand-in-hand with the River Region legislative delegation to get the package of military bills through the process and signed into law.
     
    Education/Workforce Development
    • Workforce development efforts that align state workforce initiatives through the coordination of the regional workforce councils and provide adequate resources for the councils to respond to the workforce needs of industry.
    • The implementation of a State Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) to match data to measure the performance of the state’s education and workforce system and provide information that may be used for improvement.
    • Increased funding to expand Career Coach Program that provides for the hiring of additional career coaches; a minimum of one career coach in each public high school; and additional coaches for schools in high-need areas.
    • Funding to increase the number of quality Pre-K classes.
    • The expansion of the Youth Apprenticeship Program to provide opportunities for students by exposing and engaging them in environments of potential careers without exposing industry to potential litigation.
    • A set of academic college and career ready standards in math and English in schools where students need to close the skills gaps between what employers need versus the skills that employees have.
    • Continued funding for statewide STEM Education Outreach program that works with students and teachers in the fields of chemistry, engineering and environmental sciences to increase interest and learning.
    SUCCESSFUL LEGISLATION
    • HB 175 - Creates incentives to recruit STEM teachers in hard-to-staff areas.
    • HB 135 - The Education Budget approved by lawmakers and signed by Governor Ivey creates 135 new Pre-K classrooms around the state, 16 of which will be in Montgomery.
     
    Thank You
    AS THIS LIST OF PRIORITIES AND CORRESPONDING SUCCESSES SHOWS, THE CHAMBER’S GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS EFFORTS PAY OFF. BUT OUR TEAM DOESN’T DO THIS INVALUABLE WORK ALONE. WE’D LIKE TO EXPRESS OUR APPRECIATION TO THE RIVER REGION’S LEGISLATIVE DELEGATION FOR CONSISTENTLY PARTNERING WITH US IN SUPPORT OF OUR BUSINESS COMMUNITY. TOGETHER, WE’RE ENSURING THAT OUR AREA REMAINS A GREAT PLACE TO LIVE, WORK AND PLAY.
     
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