Retail Report: Legislature returns for 2021 regular session as pandemic continues

As it has almost everything for nearly a year, the coronavirus shaped the first week of the Alabama Legislature’s 2021 regular session, from testing lawmakers for the disease to adopting legislation to shield businesses and others from lawsuits related to the pandemic.

Despite having to give her State of the State address to a camera in an empty room, the governor emphasized the positive. “As the supply of vaccine increases and is in more arms, the end of COVID-19 is closer than ever before,” she said. “The economic foundation we have built in Alabama over the past several years has proven to be solid, making our economic recovery a key reason why I am so optimistic for the future,” she said. The governor presented a $7.66 billion education budget, about a 6% increase, and a $2.46 billion General Fund spending plan, just slightly less than the current budget.

The Legislature met three days this week and plans to do the same next week before taking a week break to assess its COVID-19 protocols. Besides COVID liability protection, top priorities to exempt coronavirus relief payments from state income tax and renew industrial recruitment incentives got their first chamber votes and are poised for final approval next week. Lawmakers had to cut the 2020 session short because of the virus, but hope to be able to complete a full session in 2021 as the disease hopefully fades and the economy continues to recover. So far, 550 bills have been introduced, 200 more than in the first week of the 2020 session.

Your Alabama Retail Association will keep you informed throughout the session as issues of interest to retailers arise. Keep reading for this week’s top stories.

For legislative and other news of relevance to retailers,
read This Week in Retail News.


COVID liability protection for businesses first bill to gain Senate approval (

Minimum wage increase could be separated from next federal COVID relief (

House OKs bill ensuring COVID relief benefits are Alabama income tax free; Senate committee to consider it Tuesday (

Grocery workers eligible for COVID-19 vaccines beginning Monday; drive-through clinics in eight Alabama cities (

Home delivery of sealed beer, wine and liquor gets Senate committee approval (

House approves extension and expansion of economic development incentives (

Medical marijuana bill ready for consideration by full Senate – SB46 (

Monday is deadline to apply for Zeta-related physical damage loans in Clarke, Dallas, Marengo, Mobile, Perry, Washington and Wilcox counties (

Retailer of the Year/Centennial Retailer nominations now open (

Regularly check our COVID-19 Resources page at

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