Payday Lending, Transgender Athlete Bills Go Nowhere in Alabama Legislature

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It may be Valentines Day, but Alabama lawmakers didn’t offer much love this week as several bills had difficulty advancing. We have an overview of this week’s action in the legislature from Don Dailey, host of Alabama Public Television’s Capitol Journal.

Payday Lending

A Senate Committee voted down a bill that would have made it easier for borrowers to repay payday loans. It would have given borrowers 30 days to repay. In some cases they can have as little as 10 days.

Payday lending has been a perennial issue in recent years, but Dailey notes the opposition to the bill was bipartisan.

“There just doesn’t seem to be agreement on this issue still,” Dailey says.

Transgender Athletes

A bill that would require transgender high school athletes to compete based on their biological sex at birth died in a House committee.

“It was contentious as you might imagine,” Dailey says.

Republican Rep. Chris Pringle of Mobile sponsored the bill and says it’s about fairness to female athletes. He says they shouldn’t have to compete against those who are biologically male, with more testosterone and thus greater strength. Opponents say the bill discriminates against transgender people.

Even though this bill won’t move forward, Dailey says the issue may reappear.

“Rep. Pringle has a similar, separate bill. There are a few technical differences. So this issue may not be totally dead for the session,” Dailey says.

Police Officers and Hate Crime Law

A proposal to add law enforcement officers to the state’s hate crime law took diverging paths in the House and Senate. This comes as seven Alabama police officers have been killed in the line of duty in the last 13 months.

The House passed the bill without opposition. But a Senate version stalled in committee.

“Given that the Senate committee carried this over, it brings some questions as to what the ultimate future of this bill will be,” Dailey says.

Medical Marijuana

A bill that would legalize medical marijuana was introduced this week. It would allow medical marijuana for 15 conditions. It would also set up a commission to regulate its use in Alabama.

Dailey says the bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Tim Melson of Florence, is preparing for opposition.

“He expects to have another battle on his hands,” Dailey says. “It’s a very contentious issue as it has been for a number of years.”

Melson sponsored a medical marijuana bill last session that passed the Senate but fell short in the house. A study group met last year to make recommendations for this current version of the bill.

“They feel like they’ve addressed most if not all of the concerns that were raised last year, especially those issues about it possibly being a gateway to increasing recreational use of marijuana,” Dailey says.

The bill id expected to get its first committee hearing next week.

 

Alabama birthing units are closing to save money

One of the last remaining birthing units in southern Alabama will close next month to qualify for federal funding that will save the hospital’s emergency services, but doctors warn the move may cost newborns and pregnant women essential access to obstetric care.

Biden drops out of 2024 race after disastrous debate inflamed age concerns. VP Harris gets his nod

The decision comes after escalating pressure from Biden’s Democratic allies to step aside following the June 27 debate, in which the 81-year-old president trailed off, often gave nonsensical answers and failed to call out the former president’s many falsehoods.

In Alabama’s bald eagle territory, residents say an unexpected mining operation emerged

Aside Lake Guntersville, bald eagles are royalty. But locals say a planned chert pit is already changing that status.

The UAW’s union dreams seemed unstoppable. Then came the realities of the South

After a historic victory in Tennessee, the United Auto Workers southern campaign is still recovering from a big rejection in Alabama. How will it recover?

Exhibit shows the ‘real people’ around the Civil Rights Movement

The Temple Beth El Civil Rights Experience is a guided tour that allows visitors to explore the lives of Jewish people during the Civil Rights Movement. The exhibit highlighted Jews who were passionate activists and Jews who didn’t do much for the cause.

Alabama executes man convicted of killing delivery driver during a 1998 robbery attempt

Keith Edmund Gavin was pronounced dead at the William C. Holman Correctional Facility in southwest Alabama, authorities said. He was convicted of capital murder in the shooting death of courier service driver William Clayton Jr. in Cherokee County.

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