Almost a month of 2021 is behind us and so much has already happened.
The 46th president has been sworn in, and the 117th Congress is two weeks into its new term.
Meanwhile, the Alabama Legislature begins its 2021 regular session next week – at noon, Tuesday, Feb. 2. The governor will deliver her annual State of the State address virtually at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. At this point, 219 pieces of legislation have been pre-filed in the House and 117 in the Senate.
Initially, Alabama’s congressional delegation and state lawmakers will deal with issues related to the coronavirus. COVID-19 will continue to impact our collective health, business and politics until vaccinations are readily available and in widespread use. Key among pending state issues are protecting state businesses from liability arising from the coronavirus (SB30), and eliminating state income tax on federal relief benefits, including Paycheck Protection Program loans and stimulus checks – SB7/ SB75/ SB98/ HB19/ HB35/ HB86/ HB98 /HB152 /HB170). The governor in coordination with the Legislature addressed both through emergency proclamations, but those actions need to be codified to continue.
>> Governor’s proclamation regarding liability protection against frivolous COVID-19 lawsuits.
While the Alabama Legislature’s regular session ends by May 17, one or two special sessions could occur this year. In addition to having to conduct its regular business during a pandemic in 2021, redistricting and a federal lawsuit over prison conditions also loom.
State legislative district lines must be approved in the first legislative session following the U.S. Census. Congressional redistricting also is the job of the Alabama Legislature, although with no statutory timetable. Lawmakers are expected to be faced with redrawing those lines with one less House seat in Alabama.
Our weekly Retail Report emails resume on Friday, Feb. 5. Whatever happens in the Legislature or Congress, your association will keep you informed each Friday. Alabama Retail Association members, please reach out and provide feedback to Alabama Retail and your state and federal officials.
By Rick Brown, president of the Alabama Retail Association and the publisher of Alabama Retailer, the association’s magazine.