2023 Alabama legislative session: Important bills to watch
By WVUA23 Digital Reporter Jas Orr
The 2023 Alabama legislative session is now in full swing. Out of 174 bills introduced on the first day, these six are among the top to watch.
The most controversial bill of the current legislative session is HB7, also known as the “divisive concepts” bill. Sponsored by Republican Ed Oliver, the bill seeks to eliminate “certain divisive concepts” from the classroom and public institutions. This bill would ban teachers from teaching that “individuals, by virtue of race, color, religion, sex, ethnicity, or national origin, are inherently responsible for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, religion, sex, ethnicity, or national origin.” Or, in other words, teachers cannot encourage the idea of white guilt, a concept where white people assume guilt for the actions of their ancestors. Should this bill pass and a teacher violates this, HB7 gives administrators the power to discipline or terminate that teacher.
This is the second time the “divisive concepts” bill has been filed. Last year, the bill passed the House, but not the Senate.
These two bills seek to increase access to abortion. SB34, sponsored by democrat Vivian Figures, would repeal the Alabama Human Life Protection Act of 2019, under which attempting or performing an abortion constitutes a felony. The bill notes the negative impact that the Alabama Human Life Protection Act has had on the economy of the state, including a decrease in tourism, as well as taxpayer money going to defend the law in upcoming legal battles.
HB17 would repeal previous law that makes attempting to induce an abortion, miscarriage or premature delivery a misdemeanor. Under HB17, there would be no criminal penalty.
HB8 is a bill that seeks to eliminate phone use entirely while driving. Under current law, Alabamians are prohibited from texting while driving, but HB8 would expand what is not allowed to include viewing or recording photos or videos, or to hold a phone while making “voice-based” communications. Any violation of this bill, should it pass, would result in a fine.
Under current law, a person who is concealed carrying a firearm is required to inform law enforcement of said firearm upon request. However, under current law, there is no punishment for failing to meet this request. HB12 would make a failure to comply a class A misdemeanor.
Under current law, firearms are prohibited on school grounds except for those with pistol permits. HB28 would remove this exception and make all firearms illegal on school grounds.
Some other bills to keep an eye on are HB6, which codifies a parent’s right to their child’s upbringing into law, HB1, which creates a mandatory sentence for possession and distribution of Fentanyl, SB9 and HB53, which would both require the use of paper ballots in elections, and HB4, which makes it illegal for an employer to implant an employee with a microchip.
Interested in searching all the prefiled 2023 bills? You can do so right here.