MONTGOMERY —Here's a rundown of notable action in the Alabama Legislature for Wednesday:
A bill to legalize and regulate medical marijuana passed the Senate, 21-8.
Senate Bill 46, sponsored by Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence, would allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana products to treat more than 16 qualifying medical conditions and symptoms, including post-traumatic stress disorder, autism spectrum disorder, Crohn’s disease, HIV/AIDS-related nausea and cancer-related chronic pain and nausea. An amendment added on the Senate floor by Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, added sickle cell anemia to the list of approved conditions.
The bill creates a Medical Cannabis Commission to oversee regulations and licensing for medical marijuana cultivators, processors and dispensaries, and also requires a statewide seed-to-sale tracking system for all cannabis in the state.
Sens. Tom Butler, R-Huntsville, Sam Givhan, R-Huntsville, Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, Greg Reed, R-Jasper, and Larry Stutts, R-Tuscumbia, all voted against the bill. Melson and Sen. Garland Gudger, R-Cullman, voted in favor of it.
The bill now goes to the House, where previous medical marijuana bills have died.
The House Education Policy Committee approved a bill that says “biological male” student athletes cannot participate against female athletes in K-12 sports.
Rep. Scott Stadthagen, R-Hartselle, told the committee his House Bill 391 protects the integrity of girls sports.
“Women’s rights currently are being trampled on,” Stadthagen said. “It is unfair for biological males to compete and beat females in high school sports.”
The bill does not specifically mention transgender students, but says students must play on teams in accordance to the gender assigned to them at birth.
The House Education Policy Committee also approved:
• House Bill 385 from Rep. Laura Hall, D-Huntsville, to revise sex education curriculum in the state. Hall said her bill revises outdated and inaccurate information. She also noted that sex education is not a requirement in Alabama schools.
• House Bill 97 by Rep. Tashina Morris, D-Montgomery, to include mental health awareness in the annual employee training sessions that schools must hold. Current topics in the training include school lockdown plans, drills, and procedures to be conducted during a school year.
• House Bill 246, Rep. Jeremy Gray’s third attempt to lift the prohibition on the teaching of yoga at public schools. Gray is a Democrat from Opelika.
• House Bill 260 by Rep. Kerry Rich, R-Albertville, creates a Teacher Bill of Rights, including the right to teach free from the fear of frivolous lawsuits, the right to use appropriate means of discipline, including corporal punishment, as may be prescribed by the local board of education, the right to remove any persistently disruptive student from a classroom and the right to have his or her professional discretion and recommendations concerning disciplinary actions respected by school and district administrators.
• House Bill 407, by Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, creates a State Seal of Biliteracy program to recognize graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing in one or more languages in addition to English.
Born alive abortion
A bill that would require physicians to exercise reasonable care to preserve the life of an unborn child after a failed abortion passed House committee.
House Bill 237 from Rep. Ginny Shaver, R-Leesburg, would also create criminal penalties for physicians who do not follow the law. The woman having the abortion would not be charged with a criminal offense.
House Judiciary Chairman Jim Hill, R-Moody, added an amendment to the bill that changes the criminal penalties towards a physician who doesn’t follow the law to be a Class A felony.
Crime of doxing
A bill that would create a new criminal penalty for doxing, when someone posts private identifying information online with the intent to harass or harm someone, passed out of committee.
House Bill 403 from Rep. Shane Stringer, R-Citronelle, would make the crime of doxing a Class A misdemeanor.
“We’re starting to see more and more cases across the country where people are taking what would normally be private information and putting it on social media or out in the public against people they don’t agree with or that they have vendettas against,” Stringer said.
The bill passed on a voice vote.
— Mary Sell and Caroline Beck, Alabama Daily News