February 12, 2021 | Regular Session
Farmers, Elected Officials Enjoy Taste Of Alabama
Capitol Connection visited with Rep. Wes Kitchens, R-Arab, and Sen. Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman, during the Taste of Alabama legislative reception. Guests included Gov. Kay Ivey, Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth, Attorney General Steve Marshall, State Auditor Jim Zeigler, Secretary of State John Merrill, Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Rick Pate and Public Service Commission President Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh as well as 59 members of the Alabama Legislature, eight State Supreme Court and appellate court judges, and two members of the Alabama State Board of Education. 
Governor Signs Priority Bills Into Law
With legislators leaving Montgomery for a planned weeklong recess, Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law Friday three priority bills passed by lawmakers in the first two weeks of the 2021 Regular Session. 

HB 170 by Rep. Danny Garrett, R-Trussville, exempts any payments, credits or loan forgiveness received through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act from state income tax. HB 192 by Rep. Bill Poole, R-Tuscaloosa, renews the Alabama Jobs Act and Growing Alabama through 2023. The measure also targets more economic incentives for rural Alabama as well as female- and minority-owned businesses. SB 30 by Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, protects businesses, health care providers, churches and others from lawsuits alleging exposure to coronavirus during a declared state of emergency. 

“While the impact of COVID-19 has been felt across the country and around the world, we remain committed to helping Alabamians and Alabama businesses get back on their feet and our state moving forward,” said Ivey. “These three bills, without question, were necessary to address up front, and I am proud of the Alabama Legislature for taking care of the people’s business, despite the obvious challenges of this legislative session. Thanks to their work, the people of Alabama who received any type of CARES Act dollars will not pay one penny in state income taxes on that relief. Additionally, we are ensuring that our state will continue to grow our diverse economy, and we are protecting our existing businesses from any frivolous lawsuits due to COVID-19. Again, I commend the Alabama Legislature and am thrilled to officially sign these three bills into law.”
Gambling Bill Passes Committee, Awaits Senate Vote
Legislation to create a statewide lottery, legalize casino-style gambling at certain locations and encourage development of a compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians (PBCI) passed out of committee Wednesday. The measure was discussed on the Senate floor Thursday in anticipation of a vote following next week’s recess.

SB 214 by Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, would establish the Alabama Education Lottery with proceeds going to college scholarships. Unclaimed lottery prize money would be used for agricultural grants. The proposed constitutional amendment would authorize casino gaming, but limit locations to existing facilities in Greene, Jefferson, Macon and Mobile counties plus an additional site in Jackson or DeKalb counties operated by PBCI. The first $1 billion from taxes and fees would be used for broadband expansion. Additional gaming proceeds would fund rural health services, IT infrastructure, mental health services and infrastructure improvements for municipalities without gaming locations. 

The bill would establish the Alabama Lottery Corporation and Alabama Gaming Commission. The measure would prohibit political contributions from gaming facility owners and operators to races for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general or legislative seats.
Alabama Legislature In Recess Until Tuesday, Feb. 23.
Your Voice Is More Important Than Ever

With COVID-19 precautions limiting access to the State House for the public and Alabama Farmers Federation External Affairs team, it's vital members develop and maintain strong relationships with legislators in the district. Contact the External Affairs team (below) if you have questions or need assistance contacting your senator or representative.

Capitol Connection | Alabama Farmers Federation | (334) 288-3900 | Alfafarmers.org

 Matthew Durdin - Director, External Affairs Department
 Preston Roberts - Director, Agricultural Legislation
Casey Rogers, Director, State Legislative Programs
John Allen Nichols, Agriculture Counsel
Beth Chapman, Beth Chapman and Associates, LLC