LWVAL Action Priority Level I (Highest) - Monitoring and action of highest priority. Major area for resource expenditures.
Click a bill to see sponsor(s), summary (including link to full text), League action and justification for that action, and progress of the bill through the legislative process.
Legend: = LWVAL's support for the legislation. = LWVAL's opposition to the legislation. = new bill activity; change from previous week's report such as new progress in the legislature and/or League action. Bill may be one newly added to the report. These updates are in green font.
LWVAL has taken a position on these bills:
HB 52 - Elections, notification of absentee voter of defective and uncounted ballot, Sec. 17-11-10 am'd.
Sponsor(s): Representative Ball
Summary/Synopsis: If the voter's signature on the affidavit envelop of an absentee ballot is not properly witnessed, or is rejected for some other legal reason, rather than just rejecting the ballot, the voter must be informed by mail within 10 days after the election why the ballot was rejected.
02/24/2016: 2nd Read and placed on the calendar; pending 3rd read and Favorable from CC&E
03/23/2016: 3rd Read passed; Motion to Read a 3rd Time and Pass adopted by Roll Call vote
04/05/2016: Read for the first time and referred to the Senate Committee on Constitution, Ethics and Elections (CE&E)
04/20/2016: 2nd Read and placed on the calendar with 1 Amendment (177345-2) l pending 3rd Read and Favorable from CE&E with 1 Amendment; CE&E 1st Amendment Offered
HB72 - Voter registration, automatic, authorized
Sponsor(s): Representative Melton
Summary/Synopsis: When a person applies for a driver's license or a non-driver ID, if the person is otherwise qualified and is not yet registered to vote, the person shall automatically be registered to vote. If the person changes address when renewing the driver's license, that change shall also be made to the voter registration record.
HB222/SB186 (identical bills) - Restoration of Voting Rights, application process expedited, notification regarding procedures and eligibility required, Sec. 15-22-36.1 am'd.
HB222 Sponsor(s): Representative England
SB186 Sponsor(s): Senators Coleman-Madison and Singleton
Summary/Synopsis: Under existing law, a person convicted of certain crimes may apply to the Board of Pardons and Paroles for a Certificate of Eligibility to Register to Vote if the person has completed his or her sentence and satisfies other criteria. This bill would revise some of the application procedures for the Certificate of Eligibility to Register to Vote to expedite the process to within a specified timeframe. This bill would also require each state or county correctional facility, prison, or jail to post materials provided by the Secretary of State and the Board of Pardons and Paroles relating to requirements and procedures for restoring one's right to vote if convicted of a disqualifying felony of moral turpitude.
This bill takes some actions that will facilitate vote restoration for some felons convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude that have completed all aspects of their court ordered sentence. These actions are supported by individuals who represent varied viewpoints on the overall issue. Included are requiring restoration decisions be based on completion of the original court sentencing requirements, listing crimes the legislature considers moral turpitude in the hope that voting registrars and judicial personnel will use the list as their guide, and facilitating the application process by requiring appropriate posting of restoration procedures in a manner that those impacted can readily see.
NOTE: Various groups will debate whether the expedited process at Pardons and Paroles will have an impact. In addition, the list of moral turpitude crimes does not include all areas specified in the 1901 Alabama Constitution. As a result the list of crimes may grow. Only an amendment to the 1901 Constitution would solve this issue, but such an amendment in not in line with current sentiment in the legislature or public. Still this is one small step forward.
03/01/2016: 2nd Read and placed on the calendar with 1 Substitute; pending 3rd read and favorable from CE&E with 1 Substitute; CE&E 1st Substitute Offered.
04/19/2016: 3rd Reading Passed; CE&E 1st Substitute (174581-2) Offered; Coleman-Madison motion to Adopt adopted by Roll Call; Coleman-Madison Amendment Offered (177256-1); Coleman-Madison motion to Adopt adopted by Roll Call; Motion to Read a 3rdTime and Pass adopted by Roll Call; Engrossed
HB177 - Elections, write-in votes, procedures to count, duties to judge of probate in co. elections, Secretary of State for state election, Secs. 17-6-28, 17-12-1 am'd.
Sponsor(s): Representative Lindsey
Summary/Synopsis: Properly cast write-in votes for a specific office would be counted at the same time as provisional ballots are counted if the number of write-in votes for that office is greater than or equal to the difference in votes between the two candidates receiving the greatest number of votes for that office. This bill also provides detailed instructions for tallying such ballots.
League Action and Justification: Support This is intended to counter the "budget-cutting" closings implemented last year. The lack of open drivers' license offices in rural counties makes it more difficult to obtain the photo ID required at the polling places.
04/20/2016: 2nd Read and placed on the calendar with 1 Amendment (177253-2); SG 1st Amendment Offered; Pending 3rd read and Favorable SG with 1 amendment
NOTE: THE AMENDMENT WOULD HAVE THE LICENSE BUREAUS IN RURAL COUNTIES OPEN ONLY ONE DAY A WEEK. 05/04/2016: SG Amendment (177253-2) Offered; Mc Campbell motion to Table adopted by Roll Call; Motion to Read a 3rd Time and Pass adopted by Roll Call; Signature Requested
Senate Action: Passed 2nd House; Enrolled; Forwarded to Governor on May 4, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. on May 4, 2016
HB268 and SB231 (Identical bills) - Definition of Moral Turpitude Act, established, crimes which disqualify citizens from voting provided, Sec. 17-3-30.1 added; Secs. 17-4-3, 17-4-4 am'd.
NOTE: LWVAL Call to Action to support SB231 and HB268was issued on 3/21/2016.The 2016 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature adjourned May 4, Sine Die. Neither bill was passed. SB231 was indefinitely postponed. HB268 died in Joint Conference Committee. HB268 Sponsor(s): Representative Jones SB231 Sponsor(s): Senator Ward
Summary/Synopsis: : Under existing law, a person who commits a felony involving moral turpitude loses his or her right to vote. This bill would create the Definition of Moral Turpitude Act to establish a comprehensive list of felonies that involve moral turpitude. [Note: This is an attempt to create one inclusive list that all boards of registrars would use. It is also an attempt to make the list consistent with the 1901 Alabama Constitution.]
The felonies are: unlawful offer, sale, or purchase of securities; murder; manslaughter; assault; kidnapping in the first degree and second degree; rape; sodomy; sexual torture; sexual abuse; enticing a child to enter a vehicle for immoral purposes; soliciting a child by computer; human trafficking; burglary theft of property; theft of lost property; theft of trademarks or trade secrets; robbery; forgery terrorism; soliciting or providing support for an act of terrorism; hindering prosecution of terrorism; endangering the water supply; possession, manufacture, transport, or distribution of a destructive device or bacteriological or biological weapon; selling, furnishing, giving away, delivering, or distribution of a destructive device, a bacteriological weapon, or biological weapon to a person who is less than 21 years of age; possession, manufacture, transport, or distribution of a detonator, explosive, poison, or hoax device; possession or distribution of a hoax device represented as a destructive device or weapon; attempt to commit an explosives or destructive device or bacteriological or biological weapons crime as; conspiracy to commit an explosives or destructive device or bacteriological or biological weapons crime; hindrance or obstruction during detection, disarming, or destruction of a destructive device or weapon; possession or distribution of a destructive device or weapon intended to cause injury or destruction; treason; dissemination or public display of obscene matter containing visual depiction of persons under 17 years of age involved in obscene acts; possession and possession with intent to disseminate obscene matter containing visual depiction of persons under 17 years of age involved in obscene acts; parents or guardians permitting children to engage in production of obscene matter; production of obscene matter containing visual depiction of persons under 17 years of age involved in obscene acts; distribution, possession with intent to distribute, production of obscene material, or offer or agreement to distribute or produce; unlawful distribution of controlled substances; possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance; trafficking in cannabis, cocaine, or other illegal drugs or trafficking in amphetamine and methamphetamine; bigamy; incest; torture or other willful maltreatment of a child under the age of 18; aggravated child abuse; any crime as defined by the laws of the United States or by the laws of another state, territory, country, or other jurisdiction, which, if committed in this state, would constitute one of the offenses listed in this subsection. [NOTE: Alabama code locations for each felony listed are given in the bill.]
This bill also provides procedures for the Board of Pardons and Paroles and the Secretary of State to follow to purge certain disqualified voters from voter registration lists.
League Action and Justification: Support NOTE: LWVAL Call to Action to support SB231 and HB268issued 3/21/2016. UPDATE April 29, 2016: SB231 indefinitely postponed. Bill Progress in Legislature:
HB268 02/18/2016: First Read and referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary (JUD). 02/24/2016: 2nd Read and placed on the Calendar with 1 Amendment (174598-1); pending 3rd Read and Favorable from JUD with 1 Amendment; JUD 1st Amendment Offered
03/22/2016: 3rd Read Carried Over; Judiciary Amendment (174598-1) Offered; Motion to Adopt adopted by Roll Call; Jones Amendment Offered (176111-2); Motion to Adopt adopted by Roll Call; Jones motion to Carry Over Temporarily adopted by Voice Vote; Further Consideration 04/19/2016: 3RD Reading Passed; England Amendment Offered (177226-1); Motion to Adopt adopted Roll Call; Holmes (A) motion to Carry Over Temporarily lost Voice Vote; Engrossed
NOTE: The amendment is probably designed to prevent judges and county registrars from adding crimes to the list which has led to varying interpretations of the moral turpitude at the county level. The amendment reads: “The felonies involving moral turpitude listed in subsection (c) are the only felonies for which a person, upon conviction, may be disqualified from voting . . . “It then adds: “Additional felonies may be added to the list in subsection (c) only by amendment to this section.”
04/27/2016: 2nd Read and placed on the Calendar with 1 Amendment; JUD 1st Amendment (177590-1) offered; pending 3rd Read and Favorable from JUD with 1Amendment
05/03/2016: 3rd Reading Carried Over to Call of the Chair; Ward motion to Adopt adopted by Roll Call; Ward motion to Carry Over to the Call of the Chair adopted by Voice Vote; 3rd Reading Passed; Ward Amendment (177590-1) Offered; Ward motion to Adopt adopted by Roll Call; Third Reading Passed; Ward Amendment Offered; Ward motion to Adopt adopted Roll Call; Motion to Read a Third Time and Pass adopted by Roll Call
House Action: 05/03/2016: Concurrence Requested; Jones motion to Non Concur and Appoint Conference Committee adopted by Roll Call; House appoints House appoints Jones, England and Hill (J)
05/04/2016: Conference Committee Requested; Marsh motion to Accede adopted by Roll Cal; P&PO appoints Ward, Williams, Phil and Smitherman; Jones motion to Concur In and Adopt adopted Roll Call
House Action: 05/04/2016: Conference Committee Appointed; Conference Report; Conference Committee on HB268 2016RS first Substitute (178006-2) Offered
SB231 02/16/2016: First Read and referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary (JUD). 03/22/2016: JUD 1st Amendment (174634-2) Offered; JUD 2nd Amendment (174961-2) Offered; JUD 3rd Amendment (175361-3) Offered; Reported from Judiciary as Favorable with 3 amendments. 2nd Read and placed on the calendar with 3 amendments; pending 3rd Read and favorable from JUD with 3 amendments
Note: 1st Amendment removes unlawful distribution of a controlled substance and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance from the list of Moral Turpitude crimes; 2nd Amendment removes some assaults; 3rd Amendment renames the bill The Felony Voter Disqualification Act.
HB303 - Elections, voter registration list, notice given to person purged from, required, Sec. 17-4-3 am'd.
Sponsor(s): Representative Scott Summary/Synopsis: The Board of Registrars would have to notify those persons whose names are to be struck from the voting rolls, by mail to their last known address.
SB302 - Voting, early voting procedure established, all elections
Sponsor(s): Senator Smitherman Summary/Synopsis: This legislation would provide for early voting at designated polling places for at least 5 of the 14 days immediately preceding any election, and for the two Saturdays immediately preceding any state-wide election. For early voting, the designated polls shall be open at least 10 hours a day.
Summary/Synopsis: This bill’s synopsis as filed says the bill would provide a definition of moral turpitude for purposes of disqualifying otherwise eligible citizens from voting. It does this by eliminating the list of felonies in current law that allow for no restoration of voting rights.
The paragraph eliminated states: “A person who has lost his or her right to vote by reason of conviction in a state or federal court for any of the following will not be eligible to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility to Register to Vote under this section: Impeachment, murder, rape in any degree, sodomy in any degree, sexual abuse in any degree, incest, sexual torture, enticing a child to enter a vehicle for immoral purposes, soliciting a child by computer, production of obscene matter involving a minor, production of obscene matter, parents or guardians permitting children to engage in obscene matter, possession of obscene matter, possession with intent to distribute child pornography, or treason.”
Therefore, all felons would have a right to seek restoration of voting rights. If the applicant for restoration meets statutory requirements for restoration (completion of all sentencing requirements), the right to submit a voter registration application and have it approved would be required.
The authors base this action on “a 2006, the Circuit Court of Jefferson County, Alabama, ruled that Alabama's practices violate the United States Constitution as well as the Alabama Constitution by relying on a vague standard for denying voting rights. The circuit court called on the Legislature to remedy those violations by precisely defining which crimes disqualify otherwise eligible citizens from voting.
League Action and Justification: Monitor [Note: this is a statutory attempt to remove the Moral Turpitude section of the 1901 Alabama Constitution and therefore would likely face court tests if passed. Passage appears unlikely.]
SB293 - Elections, qualification of electors, not serving court-ordered sentence of imprisonment, eligible to register and vote, Sec. 17-3-30 am'd.
Sponsor(s): Senator Sanders
Summary/Synopsis: Under existing law, a person who is convicted of a criminal offense involving moral turpitude is not eligible to register and to vote unless that person has received a restoration of his or her civil and political rights. This bill would provide that any person who is not serving a court-ordered sentence of imprisonment for the conviction of any felony offense is eligible to register and to vote. The bill does this through the following statement: “Any person possessing the qualifications of an elector set out in Article 8 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as modified by federal law, including any person who is not serving a court-ordered sentence of imprisonment resulting from the conviction of any felony offense, and not laboring under any other disqualification listed therein in Article 8, shall be an elector, and shall be entitled to register and to vote at any election by the people."
League Action and Justification: Monitor for public and member information purposes. League has position on requiring party affiliation for voting in primaries. However, since this bill would bar Independents from voting in primaries (a major change in political participation rights), we will monitor the progress of the legislation. Bill Progress in Legislature: 03/15/2016: First Reading and referred to the Senate Committee on Constitution, Ethics, and Elections (CE&E). 03/23/3016: 2nd Read and placed on the Calendar; pending 3rd Read and Favorable from CE&E 04/19/2016: 3rd Reading Carried Over to Call of the Chair; Whatley 1st Substitute (176724-1) Offered; Whatley motion to Carry Over to the Call of the Chair adopted Voice Vote; Further Consideration.
NOTE: The Whatley Substitute (submitted but not yet voted upon) is a major change from the original bill. The Substitute reads: “An elector may vote in a primary runoff election only if he or she voted in the preceding primary election of the same political party for which the runoff election is being held.”
As written the Substitute drops voter registration by party. And new registrations from the time after the primary but by the legal cutoff day for runoff registration would not be able to vote in the runoff which they may now do. The bill would end the current Republican Parry practice of allowing voters who voted in the Democratic primary to vote in its runoff. 04/27/2016: 3rd Reading Carried Over; Whatley 2nd Substitute (176724-1) Offered; Whatley Motion to Adopt adopted by Roll Call; Whatley motion to Carry Over lost Voice Vote; Dial motion to Carry Over to the 30th Legislative Day adopted Voice Vote 04/28/2016: Indefinitely Postponed
HB546 - Elections, party registration required in primary elections, Secretary of State maintain voters affiliation on voter registration form
Sponsor: Representative Fridy
Summary/Synopsis: This bill would change Alabama's open primary practice to require a voter to have been registered as a member of the political party at least 14 days before a primary election. The voter could not change registration between the primary and a run-off. This bill would allow an elector who remains unaffiliated to vote in a primary election only in nonpartisan elections and on ballot measures.