Sen. Arthur Orr (Decatur) introduced SB 30, which would provide COVID 19 civil liability protection for businesses, the health-care community, schools, places of worship, nonprofits, and other entities against civil liability and certain damages claimed by individuals who allege they contracted or were exposed to COVID 19 due to an act or omission of a business or healthcare provider. The bill passed the Senate 28-1.
COVID-19 tax relief passes House
Rep. Danny Garrett (Trussville) introduced HB 170. The bill will remove the state tax from state and federal COVID-19 relief funds. In addition, the bill will allow normal business deductions when using the COVID 19 funds. Also, the bill changes the state apportionment factor to only a sales factor. The bill passed the House 94-0.
Unemployment tax increase
Alabama employers should expect notice of an unemployment tax increase in the next two weeks from the state Labor Department. Governor Ivey and the legislative committee infused the unemployment insurance trust fund with $385 million from the CARES Act but it was not enough to avoid a tax increase on employers.
Senate leadership and committee changes
Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed (Jasper) was elected as Senate Pro Tem, when Sen. Del Marsh announced he was not running for reelection in 2022 and would step down as Pro Tem. Sen. Clay Scofield was elected as Senate Majority Leader. Sen. Tom Whatley (Auburn) will chair the Senate Judiciary Committee following the resignation of former St. Sen. Cam Ward to lead the Alabama Pardons and Paroles Board. Sen. Larry Stutts (Tuscumbia) will chair the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Sen. Clyde Chambliss will chair the Confirmations Committee.