A look at what passed and failed in the 2024 legislative session

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External view of the Alabama State House

Miranda Fulmore, WBHM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama lawmakers ended a 2024 legislative session that saw the Republican majority win approval for a number of their top priorities, including a package of workforce development bills. Here is a look at some of the key measures that passed and failed over the last three months.

What was approved

In vitro fertilization

Some IVF providers in the state paused services because of a court ruling that equated frozen embryos to children. Lawmakers faced public pressure to get IVF services restarted and approved lawsuit protections to address the liability concerns raised by the ruling. However, lawmakers sidestepped the broader issue of whether frozen embryos should be considered people.

Choose Act

The CHOOSE Act is school choice program similar to school vouchers that will provide eligible families with as much as $7,000 to help pay for private school and $2,000 for homeschooling expenses. Gov. Kay Ivey had championed the measure in her State of the State address.

Absentee Voting

The new law criminalizes certain types of assistance with absentee ballot applications. It is a misdemeanor to return another person’s absentee ballot application and a felony to pay someone to distribute or collect applications. A lawsuit was filed challenging the new law.

Diversity, equity and inclusion

The law that takes effect Oct. 1 bans diversity, equity and inclusion programs at public schools, universities and state agencies and prohibits the teaching of “divisive concepts” including that someone should feel guilty because of their race or gender. The legislation was part of a national wave of Republican proposals taking aim at DEI programs.

Workforce development

Lawmakers approved a series of bills aimed at addressing a worker shortage. The measures include legislation that would provide tax credits to business that help employees with child care costs through child care stipends, on-site day care or reserved spots at licensed facilities.

Teacher pay raise

An approved $9.3 billion education budget includes a 2% pay increase for public school teachers and employees. The governor has set a goal of making starting teacher pay the highest among neighboring states.

Biden ballot access

Lawmakers adjusted the candidate certification deadline to ensure that President Joe Biden will appear on the November ballot. The same accommodation was made four years ago for then-President Donald Trump. Alabama has one of the earliest certification deadlines in the country.

What failed

Gambling

Lottery and casino legislation failed after not getting the needed support in the Alabama Senate. A conference committee proposal would have authorized a state lottery and slot machines and video poker, but not table games, at seven locations.

Ethics law changes

Legislation that would have rewritten the state ethics law passed the House of Representatives but died in Senate committee. Republican Rep. Matt Simpson said his goal was to make the ethics law easier to understand. The legislation was opposed by the state attorney general’s office.

Death penalty changes

The House Judiciary Committee voted down legislation that would allow about 30 death row inmates, who were given death sentences despite a jury’s recommendation of life imprisonment, to receive new sentences. Alabama lawmakers abolished judicial override in 2017, but the change was not retroactive.

Pride flag ban/library content

Lawmakers did not approve a proposal that would have prohibited teachers and school employees from displaying Pride flags on public school property. Another bill that did not pass would have allowed librarians to be arrested under the state obscenity law because of library content and programs.

 

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