Governor Ivey recently signed some bills into law after the 2023 Alabama Legislative Session. Some of those bills are: • House Bill 261 which limits transgender students to playing sports in public colleges and universities only with their biological sex.
The bill states: “Relating to two-year and four-year public institutions of higher education; to amend Section 16-1-52, Code of Alabama 1975, to prohibit a biological male from participating on an athletic team or sport designated for females; to prohibit a biological female from participating on an athletic team or sport designated for males; to prohibit adverse action against a public K-12 school or public two-year or four-year institution of higher education for complying with this act; to prohibit adverse action or retaliation against a student who reports a violation of this act; and to provide a remedy for any student who suffers harm or is directly deprived of an athletic opportunity as a result of a violation of this act.”
Upon taking this latest action to protect female athletes, Governor Ivey issued the following statement:
“Look, if you are a biological male, you are not going to be competing in women’s and girls’ sports in Alabama. It’s about fairness, plain and simple.”
Governor Ivey previously signed legislation in 2021 banning biological boys from competing in K-12 girls sports. Alabama remains committed to protecting female athletes at all levels and upholding the integrity of athletics.
• House Bill 379, the Alabama Property Protection Act, which was sponsored by Representative Scott Stadthagen in the House and carried by Senator David Sessions in the Senate.
The bill states: “Relating to acquisition of title to real property; to prohibit certain governments or governmental entities from acquiring certain real property in the state. Under existing law, an alien, whether resident or nonresident, may own, hold, or dispose of real property, real and personal, in this state, either by purchase, descent, or devise and may dispose of and transmit the same by sale, descent, or devise with the same rights as a native citizen. This bill would prohibit Chinese citizens, the Chinese government, or Chinese entities from acquiring title to real property in the state.”
Upon taking this necessary step to protect Alabama’s agricultural resources, military installations and critical infrastructure from countries of concern, Governor Ivey issued the following statement:
“Across the United States, we have seen alarming instances of foreign entities purchasing large tracts of land, which could have severe consequences for our country’s national defense and economy, if no action is taken,” said Governor Ivey. “From our forests to our farmland, Alabama is blessed with an abundance of highly valuable natural resources that must be protected. We also have a large military presence, and Alabama will always do our part to put the security of our country and our people first. The simple fact of the matter is that foreign governments have no business owning land in Alabama, and I am proud to sign this bill and ensure that will never be the case going forward.”
• Alabama’s budgets, including the General Fund and the supplemental and the Education Trust Fund and its supplemental. Upon putting signature on the Education Trust Fund and its supplemental, she issued the following statement:
“I am proud to officially put my signature on yet another historic investment in our students, teachers and schools. Alabama is serious about changing the trajectory of student outcomes, and our steady progress in the classroom and this record-setting education budget prove that to be the Gospel Truth. We are expanding our award-winning pre-K program into some of our highest poverty areas. We are supporting the implementation of the critical Literacy and Numeracy Acts. We are, once again, increasing teacher pay, giving us even more of a competitive edge to recruit and retain the educators of today and tomorrow. We are investing in our two-year and four-year colleges. And thanks to the work of the Alabama Legislature, we continue making these wise investments while paying down debts, adding to our savings and returning the working people of Alabama’s money back to them through tax rebates. I have said it before, and I will say it again: Our students’ education is the single-most important issue facing our state, and Alabamians can rest assured that it will continue to be my top priority.”
On the General Fund and the General Fund supplemental, Governor Ivey shared the following comment:
“As I said in my State of State address, we can be proud of that fact that during my time as governor, we have not once used the word proration, nor have we spent beyond our means. I am equally proud to announce today that with my signature on the 2024 General Fund that positive trend will continue. Alabama’s record-setting $3 billion General Fund is generational money which makes possible greater investments in vital public services while also significantly paying down debt to reduce the impact of future economic downturns. This landmark budget is historic for Alabama. It will positively affect many agency operations from State Troopers protecting our highways to mental health professionals. It expands support for their important missions while rewarding their hard work with a much-needed pay raise. This budget’s robust commitment to our citizens is equally matched by our legislators’ strong bipartisanship to swiftly deliver it to my desk. I am pleased to sign it into law.”
The Governor also announced she is delivering another pay raise to Alabama teachers, marking a total increase of 15 percent during her time as governor. The governor issued the following statement:
“Our students’ education is my top priority, and teachers are vital to their successful future, which is why I am proud to, once again, deliver a pay raise to Alabama teachers. Every year since I have been governor, I have proposed a pay increase for our educators, and because of our work with the Legislature, Alabama has increased base salary for teachers by about $6,000 during that time. As I stated during my state of the state address, my goal is to have the starting salary for all Alabama teachers to be the highest in the Southeast by the end of my term. Each of us has a teacher that made a difference in our lives. I know I did, and I am proud to let every Alabama teacher know that Kay Ivey has their backs.”
• The Governor further defended Alabama values by signing Senate Bill 261. The bill states: “Relating to public contracts; to prohibit governmental entities from entering into certain contracts with companies that boycott businesses because the business engages in certain sectors or does not meet certain environmental or corporate governance standards or does not facilitate certain activities; to provide that no company in the state shall be required by a governmental entity, nor penalized by a governmental entity for declining to engage in economic boycotts or other actions that further social, political, or ideological interests; to require the Attorney General to take actions to prevent federal laws or actions from penalizing, inflicting harm on, limiting commercial relations with, or changing or limiting the activities of companies or residents of the state based on the furtherance of economic boycott criteria; and to authorize the Attorney General to investigate and enforce this act; and to provide definitions.”
The governor then issued the following statement:
“No matter how much Corporate America and the national media want to push their social issue of the day on folks, the state of Alabama will continue protecting both our values and our businesses. Alabama citizens, in no way, shape or form, want ESG influencing business in our state, and this legislation most certainly sends that message. Alabama – where businesses do business and government serves her people! We call it common sense.”
• House Bill 77, making good on her promise to help small businesses in Alabama. During Governor Ivey’s 2023 State of the State Address, she called on the Legislature to help create greater economic stability for Alabama businesses operating in a challenging national economy. Specifically, she proposed lawmakers reduce the financial load shouldered by small businesses by passing legislation lowering their prepaid sales tax burden. House Bill 77 increases the threshold for submitting estimated monthly sales tax payments from $5,000 to $20,000 in average monthly sales tax liability.
The bill states: “Relating to sales tax; to amend Section 40-23-7, as last amended by Section 5 of Act 2022-53 of the 2022 Regular Session, Code of Alabama 1975, to provide for an increase in the amount of the average monthly sales tax liability for required estimated payments. Under existing law, a sales tax licensee whose average monthly state sales tax liability was $5,000 or greater during the preceding calendar year is required to make estimated payments. This bill would increase the average monthly state sales tax liability threshold calculation to $20,000 or greater during the preceding calendar year for required estimated payments.”
Upon signing this pro-business legislation, Governor Ivey issued the following statement:
“Our economic stability begins and ends with the success of our small businesses, and it’s imperative that leaders at all levels of government actively look for ways to cut red tape and help them thrive,” said Governor Ivey. “Eliminating the requirement for our small businesses with less than $500,000 in monthly sales to prepay taxes is a no-brainer. It not only frees up capital but also allows owners to focus solely on turning a profit every month and staying in business. This is an example of good government, and I commend the men and women of the Legislature for passing this bipartisan legislation for the people of our state.”
The Alabama Department of Revenue estimates this legislation will positively impact over 3,000 small businesses in the state of Alabama.
• House Bill 342, which expands access to high-quality alternative certification pathways for new Alabama teachers in order to address ongoing teacher shortages.
The bill states: Relating to alternative teacher preparation programs and teacher certification; to amend Section 2 of Act 2022-239, 2022 Regular Session, now appearing as Section 16-23-3.1, Code of Alabama 1975, to provide additional requirements for programs. Under existing law, the State Superintendent of Education is authorized to issue professional educator certificates to qualified individuals who complete an alternative teacher preparation program offered by an approved alternative teacher education preparation organization. This bill would provide additional requirements for programs. An approved teacher education preparation organization shall require each applicant whom the approved organization recommends for initial licensure to satisfy all of the following: Hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education which offers, at a minimum, junior and senior level courses of instruction; Successfully pass a criminal history background information check; Successfully complete an alternative teacher preparation program offered by the approved organization.”
Upon signing this legislation, Governor Ivey issued the following statement:
“As Alabama continues to face teacher shortages, particularly in math and science, efforts are being undertaken to fill vacancies in those positions with qualified persons with academic experience outside the teaching profession. One such approach, HB 342, expands access to high-quality alternative certification pathways for new teachers that comply with rigorous standards, while also maintaining the professionalism and quality of the teaching profession.”
• Governor Ivey also signed four economic growth bills that she has coined as The Game Plan. The package of bills, designed to secure Alabama’s economic future into law, received overwhelming approval from the Legislature.
The Governor stated, “The Game Plan will give Alabama’s team the tools it needs to extend our winning record in economic development and help us unleash a new wave of growth and innovation across the state,” said Governor Ivey. “From our rural areas to our big cities, this is going to benefit every corner of Alabama.”
The Game Plan includes four bills — or “plays” — that focus on economic development issues such as incentives, site development, small business support and transparency.
• Play 1: The Enhancing Alabama’s Economic Progress Act renews the Alabama Jobs Act and the Growing Alabama program and extends their sunset dates to 2028 while adding strategic enhancements to increase their effectiveness. The Jobs Act is the state’s primary incentives platform while Growing Alabama primarily speeds development of shovel-ready sites.
• Play 2: The Site Evaluation and Economic Development Strategy Act (SEEDS) will allow the State Industrial Development Authority to accelerate the development of industry-ready sites at a time when available sites are scarce and other states are expanding their site programs.
• Play 3: The Innovation and Small Business Act aims to supercharge growth in Alabama’s innovation economy and support underrepresented businesses and enterprises in rural areas, transforming the state into a hub for technology and innovation.
• Play 4: The Enhancing Transparency Act will amend the Jobs Act to require the Alabama Department of Commerce to publish certain incentivized project information on its website. Transparency around important information related to companies receiving incentives will serve a valid public service and increase confidence in the process.
Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said the package will act to modernize the playbook the state has used to deliver major results in terms of new investment and job creation during recent years.
“The Game Plan will serve as our next-generation strategic economic development framework as we work to build a more dynamic economy for Alabama and its citizens,” said Secretary Canfield. “Neighboring states are aggressively escalating their economic development activities, and this will allow us to keep winning the projects that trigger lasting impacts.”
Senate President Pro Temp Greg Reed (R-Jasper) hailed the passage of the package as a victory for the state and its future.
“The Game Plan is a multi-pronged approach to strengthen Alabama’s economy from all angles,” said Reed. “The four ‘plays’ are effective pieces of legislation that will help Alabama’s local communities thrive by attracting high-quality employers, creating jobs and stimulating economic growth.”
Speaker of the House Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) said the package will benefit Alabamians by better positioning the state to compete for the best jobs in the country.
“Industries across the nation and globe are trying to come here because of our great employees, our low taxes, and our unbeatable quality of life,” said Ledbetter. “We want to make sure that, from a competition standpoint, we have the tools needed to bring companies here and keep them here.”