Alabama lawmakers pass bills on hospital visitations, fentanyl possession

(Source: Alabama Daily News)
Published: Apr. 7, 2023 at 5:24 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 7, 2023 at 6:32 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The legislative session is now 20% complete and two bills have already received final passage.

The House gave final passage to a bill that allows health care facility patients to give someone visitation rights for at least two hours a day. Facilities can’t require vaccinations, but visitors must take sanitary precautions.

“The ability to people go and visit their families and hospital, regardless of the situation, having clarity on that was good,” said House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter.

Gov. Kay Ivey hasn’t signed that bill yet, but she swiftly signed a bill into law creating mandatory minimum sentences for possession of fentanyl.

“We want you to go to prison, we want you to be off the streets, we want to have the tools for every law enforcement option to be able to defend our citizenry and protect our kids,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Reed.

Lawmakers continue to try to improve education with bills headed to the House floor. One is to add a financial literacy course as a high school graduation requirement, and another is focused on first-grade readiness.

“They’re not required to be in kindergarten at 5 years old, but if they come to school as a 6-year-old, which is the first time they’re required to be in school, and they’re not prepared to be in first grade, then they would be allowed to start in kindergarten,” said Rep. Terri Collins, chair of the House Education Policy Committee.

A question still before both chambers is what to do with the surplus in the education budget. Reed said there are multiple options on the table.

“Rebates, investment of some of those resources, being able to look at saving some of those dollars,” he said.

“It makes sense to eliminate the state tax on overtime pay as an increase incentive to ensure that businesses have the workers they need to meet demand,” said Rep. Curtis Travis.

A four-bill package called the “Game Plan” will be in committee this week. This includes incentives for small and big businesses.

Next week, there could a bill that changes how inmates earn correctional incentive time to make it to Ivey’s desk for signing.

Lawmakers will be back in the state house on Tuesday.

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