Last week was the second week of the 2009 Alabama legislative session, and that usually marks the first week of action in Montgomery.

So far the Alabama House of Representatives has gotten off to an early start, passing several of the required “sunset laws.” These are noncontroversial bills that must be passed periodically to continue to existence of certain regulatory boards in the state. The House also passed their annual bill to ban PAC-to-PAC transfers in Alabama as well as several uncontested local bills and some other actions. In short, the House of Representatives is chugging along and passing some noncontroversial legislation early on.

The Alabama Senate, however, didn’t make it through its second week without a filibuster. As Danner explained earlier, Senator Phil Poole from Tuscaloosa stalled the chamber on Tuesday because he said some senators planned to kill a local bill that he supports. The delay caused some heated arguments on the floor between Poole and Senator Larry Means of Atalla.

Fortunately, a truce seems to have been declared and the Senate functioned routinely on Thursday. No one’s sure how long the peace will last.

The good news for Free the Hops this week is that our Senate bill, SB132, unanimously passed out of Senate committee on Wednesday. This was expected, but is good news nonetheless. SB132 was re-introduced to the Senate floor on Thursday which means we are ready for a Senate vote.

Our House companion bill, HB373 is scheduled for a public hearing in committee next week on Wednesday, although they might not vote on the measure until the week after. This is a procedural requirement, and we expect to pass out of the House committee with no problem.