- Associated Press - Thursday, April 3, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Dozens of bills died when the Alabama Legislature ended its 2014 session Thursday, including one to rewrite Alabama’s open meetings law and another the state prison system said was needed to resume executions in Alabama.

The House and Senate quit about 7:30 p.m., which was about four hours earlier than normal for the last night of a legislative session. Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, said he moved to adjourn early to keep the governor from sending back the state education budget with the addition of amendment for a 2 percent pay raise for education employees.

Bills that died on the last day included:

OPEN MEETINGS: The bill would have prohibited members of city councils, county commissions and other government board members from meeting in a series of small groups to decide an issue before having a meeting of the whole board. The bill also would have made it easier for citizens to sue government boards over secret meetings. The bill passed in the House Thursday, but died in the Senate without coming to a vote. “It was very disappointing we didn’t take it up,” said Republican Sen. Cam Ward of Alabaster, a sponsor of the legislation.

LETHAL INJECTION: The state Department of Corrections was pushing a bill to keep private the names of companies that supply drugs for use in lethal injections. The department is out of one of the drugs and says companies don’t want to supply them out of concern for public pressure. The Senate made several attempts to pass the bill, which had already cleared the House. But it failed due to opposition from death penalty opponents and from senators who were opposed to total secrecy. Proponents said it means Alabama probably won’t have any executions during the next year. “I’m upset about the death penalty bill,” Marsh said.

PAYDAY LOANS: A bill to create a database to track payday loans passed in the House but died in the Senate when some members sought changes. The bill would have permitted the state Banking Department to set up a database where all payday lenders would have had to report their short-term loans, and the department would have used it to enforce a state law limiting someone to having no more than $500 in payday loans at one time. Many payday lenders opposed the bill. The bill stalled after Republican Sen. Shadrack McGill of Woodville proposed raising the loan limit to $1,000.

SPAY-NEUTER CLINICS: The House passed a bill designed to protect Alabama’s low-cost spay-neuter clinics from being forced to close due to concerns they violate state veterinarian laws, but the Senate took it off its work agenda Thursday after Republican Sen. Paul Bussman of Cullman threatened a filibuster.

FETAL HEARTBEAT: The Senate did not take up a House-passed bill that would have banned abortions when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can occur at six or seven weeks into a pregnancy. Senate leaders said they wanted to wait until court cases on similar laws in Arkansas and North Dakota are decided. “I’m very, very disappointed that they didn’t have the fortitude to do that,” the bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin of Indian Springs said.

LEGISLATIVE REORGANIZATION: A bill to reorganize the Legislature’s administrative functions died for the second year. A compromise version of the bill passed the House on the last day of the session, but never came up for a vote in the Senate.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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