2022 legislative session yields much to think about
By Beth Chapman
Let’s take a look at some CliffsNotes, so to speak, from the 2022 state legislative session.
Alabama has lots of money.
The general fund budget and education trust fund budget saw investments of almost $11 billion in spending for 2023. “Since we have it, why not spend it?” is the mentality – and that’s what has been planned, including pay raises for state employees and educators.
There were a number of tax-relief measures handed out – and who doesn’t love tax relief, especially with the recent annual passing and pain of April 15? The Alabama Small Business Relief and Revitalization Act was passed, and it’s self-explanatory.
There was also the repeal of the business privilege tax, which cuts that $100 minimum payment in half starting in 2023. Thank you, Sen. Tom Butler.
Thanks to Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth and the Alabama Military Stability Commission, Alabama now leads the nation in military-friendly states with our new legislative package of bills that were passed – six in all.
Broadband funding was expanded and provides tons of money for investing in its future across the state, which is long overdue. Thank you again, Sen. Clay Scofield and Rep. Randall Shedd.
Election integrity was addressed during the session, with a bill that specifically stops private companies from funding election-related activities. Thank you, Rep. Wes Allen, who is a former probate judge.
Constitutional carry was passed, and law-abiding handgun owners no longer have to purchase a pistol permit in Alabama. Some will say that’s good, and some will say that’s bad. Just remember, reciprocal states will still require a state-issued permit when you travel.
Which bathroom children in public schools should use was up for debate – go figure. It was decided students should use the bathroom that aligns with the gender with which they were born.
There were other controversial bills that dealt with puberty-blockers, too.
Goodbye to the 21 legislators who will leave us this year, as this is their last regular session. Many are retiring, others are seeking different offices, but they are all to be commended for their years of service.
Best of luck and thank you to Sens. Jim McClendon, Del Marsh, Priscilla Dunn, Malika Sanders-Fortier and Jimmy Holley, plus Reps. Lynn Greer, Mike Ball, Allen Farley, Howard Sanderford, Mac McCutcheon, Kerry Rich, Mike Holmes, K.L. Brown, Louise Alexander, Merika Coleman, Rodney Sullivan, Rich Wingo, Wes Allen, Mike Jones, Steve McMillan and Victor Gaston.