LWVAL Action Priority Level III - Issues identified by LWVAL Advocacy Committee and/or State Board or Local Leagues. Monitoring occurs; action dependent on opportunity and available resources.
Click a bill to see sponsor(s), synopsis, link to the bill, 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.
SB194 - Public assistance, additional requirements for TANF and SNAP benefits, termination of benefits for certain benefits, review of certain EBT card purchases required
Sponsor(s): Senator Orr
Synopsis: This bill would impose additional restrictions on public assistance programs administered by DHR. It would not allow the department any ability to waive work requirements or to categorically grant eligibility for food stamp benefits. It sets out a 3-year limit on receiving TANF (traditional “welfare”) benefits even though the federal law allows for a 5-year limit. Among its many punitive measures, it requires benefit recipients to do extra paperwork and also requires DHR to track out-of-state purchases made by recipients using TANF moneys.
League Action and Justification: Oppose. This is a “feel good” bill designed to appear tough on “welfare cheaters.” In fact, the Fiscal Notes states that it would increase the administrative and financial obligations of DHR without the allocation of additional funds. The League has consistently opposed unfunded mandates like this.
Bill Progress in Legislature:
02/16/2017: Read for the First Time and referred to the Senate committee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development (FR&ED)
HB481 - Motor vehicles, handicapped parking, sign designated special access parking place not required to specify fine, Sec. 32-6-233.1 am'd.
Sponsor(s): Representative Johnson (K)
Synopsis: This bill amends the current law governing disability license plates/placards. The changes are : (1) requiring the person issued a long-term special access or disability access placard or a temporary disability placard to be the driver or a passenger in a vehicle parked in a special access or disability parking place. Any law enforcement officer enforcing this section may ask for verification that the person issued the placard is the driver or passenger in the parked vehicle. (2) Any sign designating a handicapped special access parking or disability parking place may contain information on the fine for illegally parking in such space. The current law says the sign shall hold such information.
Bill Progress in the Legislature: 04/06/2017: Read for the first time and referred to the House committee on State Government (SG)
HB486 Constitutional Amendment - Ten Commandments, display of on state property and at public schools, authorized, const. amend.
Sponsor(s): Representative Mooney
Synopsis: This constitutional amendment would authorize the display of the Ten Commandments on public land, and public schools and public bodies would be authorized to erect such display. The bill qualifies this by saying, "The Ten Commandments shall be displayed in a manner that complies with constitutional requirements, including, but not limited to, being intermingled with historical or educational items, or both, in a larger display within or on property owned or administrated by a public school or public body." It also states that people shall be free to worship as they choose and to not be compelled to contribute toward or attend any worship. It prohibits the use of public funds to defend this amendment against charges of unconstitutionality.
League Action and Justification: Oppose. What a mess. We know it is not constitutional, but we will only do it constitutionally, but we will let private citizens or groups defend against the inevitable lawsuit.
Bill Progress in Legislature: 04/06/2017: Read for the first time and referred to the House committee on Constitution, Campaigns, and Elections (CC&E).
LWVAL is monitoring this bill:
HB70 - Age of majority, lowered to 18 years, to retain the age limitation for tobacco sales, Secs. 26-1-1, 13A-12-3
Sponsor(s): Rep. Poole Synopsis: Under limited circumstances, this bill purports to lower the age of legal majority from 19 to 18. Unfortunately, these circumstances are limited: unless the 18-year-old is honorably discharged from the military, he or she cannot purchase a vehicle because he or she cannot enter into a contract to borrow money (which is usually required to purchase a vehicle). It is unclear whether this bill would apply to the “rent-to-own” of household furnishings. It does not remove the requirement for parental permission for an 18-year-old to have an abortion.
League Action and Justification: Monitor. The whole area of the law dealing with 18-21-year-olds is confusing and this bill adds to the confusion. We do not have a clear picture of what “adult responsibilities” are and at what age they should be assumed. While the league did support allowing 18-year-olds to vote on the grounds that many of them assume adult responsibilities (like military service), we do not have a clear position on an absolute age of majority.
Bill Progress in Legislature: 02/07/2017: First Read and assigned to House Judiciary Committee (JUD) 02/16/2017: 2nd Read and placed on the calendar with 1 Substitute (182131-2); Pending 3rd Read and Favorable from JUD with 1 Substitute; JUD 1st Substitute Offered.
02/23/2017: 3rd Reading Passed; Judiciary first Substitute Offered; Motion to Adopt adopted by Roll Call; Motion to Read a 3rd Time and Pass adopted by Roll Call; Engrossed
02/28/2017: Read for the first time and referred to the Senate committee on Judiciary (JUD)