A north Alabama lawmaker is kicking an idea around Montgomery that could dramatically change the state's election process.
Rep. Mike Ball, R-Madison, said he's researching and gathering opinions about discontinuing most party primary runoffs. He said he wants to file a bill to do so by the end of March.
"We go to the polls an awful lot in Alabama," Ball said last week.
Ball said because of runoffs, which are six weeks after the primaries, almost an entire legislative session can go by without a district seat being filled. Case in point: Former Rep. Jeremy Oden's seat representing a portion of Morgan, Cullman and Blount counties. Oden resigned late last year when he was appointed to the state Public Service Commission.
If no primary runoff is required in the special election to replace Oden, a new representative will be elected March 26. But if a primary runoff were required, the special general election won't occur until May 7.
The legislative session will end somewhere around May 20.
Ball said he's considering a 35 percent threshold; as long as one candidate receives 35 percent or more of the vote in a primary, he or she would move on to the general election.
If no one receives 35 percent, there would be a runoff. Ball said Alabama is one of only a few states that still do primary runoffs.
"I'm just throwing the idea out there," Ball said.
Rep. Lynn Greer, R-Rogersville, said he hasn't made up his mind about the idea, but said the six weeks between a primary and runoff is a mighty long time.
"It would save us chunks of money," Greer said about eliminating many runoffs.
A Morgan County lawmaker has filed a bill called the "Second Amendment Preservation Act" in the Alabama House.
Rep. Ed Henry, R-Hartselle, said the bill, HB220, is similar to a constitutional amendment Republican lawmakers are pushing, but would go into effect sooner.
The bill states: "All federal acts, laws, orders, rules, or regulations in violation of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution are contrary to the true meaning and intent of the Constitution as given by its authors and ratifiers and are invalid in this state, shall not be recognized by this state, are specifically rejected by this state, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this state. … the Legislature shall adopt and enact any and all measures as may be necessary to prevent the enforcement of any federal acts, laws, orders, rules, or regulations in violation of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution."
Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, has filed two bills so far this legislative session. The session officially began last week.
One bill, HB214, would require anyone who owes delinquent child support payments and has money taken directly out of their paychecks by the Department of Human Resources also would have a portion of any bonuses of more than $500 subject to deduction.
The bill states employers would have to notify DHR before the employee was scheduled to receive the raise. Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, is carrying the bill in the Senate.
Collins is also bringing back this year a bill that last year passed the House but died in the Senate. House Bill 221 would allow municipalities to create a cultural district in which original works of art would be exempt from sales tax.
An Orr bill that lets the Legislature take unused general fund money back from state agencies and reallocate it to other agencies passed the Senate last week.
Senate Bill 100 is the same as a piece of legislation enacted into law last year, but renews in perpetuity the Legislature's ability to shuffle money.
"It allows the Legislature to transfer funds to other agencies," Orr said on the Senate floor Thursday.
The bill now goes to the House.