That’s a Wrap!

state-houseOn Friday evening, the state legislature adjourned the 2019 regular legislative session. This was a very successful year for our conservation priorities: with your help, we stopped a bad bill, passed a good bill, and favorably amended the gas tax bill.

In total, legislators received 1,420 messages from conservation voters just like you this session. Your voice had a direct impact on state policy.

Here’s a look at our wins this year:

  • House Bill 500, the anti-litter bill, was the second-to-last bill to pass this session. A very special thanks to Rep. Margie Wilcox (R-Mobile), the bill’s sponsor, who made sure that the Senate found the time to take up the bill and pass it.
  • House Bill 346/Senate Bill 244 would have prevented local communities from taking action to limit plastic pollution. Thanks to Sen. Chris Elliott (R-Daphne) as well the City Council of Mobile and leaders in Montgomery, Orange Beach, Dauphin Island, Fairhope, and Birmingham and others for speaking out against these bills.
  • During the special session to pass an increase to the gas tax, the final bill reduced taxes on hybrid and electric vehicles, and increased the portion of tax funds that will be dedicated to building charging stations across the state.

When you spoke up for your conservation priorities this year, the legislature listened. Thank you for advocating for the people and places you love in our state! Even though session is over, we’ll still be working to make good conservation policy a political reality in Alabama all year long, and we’ll let you know how you can help.



Anti-Litter Bill Clears House as Session Winds Down

state-houseHouse Bill 500, which would increase penalties for littering in Alabama, was passed by the House on Thursday, clearing an important hurdle as we enter the last days of the 2019 session.

On Wednesday, House Bill 500 appeared on the ten minute calendar in the House. The ten minute calendar is an opportunity to quickly pass bills, as debate is limited to just ten minutes for each bill on the agenda. While none of the bills on the ten minute calendar passed on Wednesday, the calendar was taken back up on Thursday, and House Bill 500 was passed by the House.

The next step for HB 500 is to be considered by the Senate, which is adjourned until Tuesday after the Memorial Day holiday. We’re nearing the end of the 30 legislative days for the 2019 session, so we’ll be watching to see when HB 500 comes before the Senate.

Almost 500 Alabamians have asked their elected officials to vote YES on HB 500. Your legislators need to hear from you to make sure they prioritize taking this bill up in the Senate before the end of session. Add your voice by clicking here and let’s clean up our state!



Anti-Litter Bill Advances in House

green trash bin on green grass field

During what has been a very busy week for the Alabama legislature, the House State Government Committee passed House Bill 500, which would increase penalties for littering. The bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Margie Wilcox (R-Mobile), will go to the full House next.

Committee members received more than 200 messages in support of HB 500, and the bill passed out of committee without any opposition. As a result, we’ve now updated our alert to go to the legislators who represent you rather than the committee members: take a minute to ask your elected officials to vote YES on HB 500 and help clean up our state!

Litter hurts our environment and our communities, and it is expensive and time-consuming to clean up. HB 500 addresses this by:

  • Increasing the fine for littering to $500 from $250;
  • Increasing the fine for subsequent convictions for littering to $1000 and 100 hours of picking up litter, or a fine of up to $3000;
  • Adding an additional fine of $500 if litter includes cigarettes, cigars, containers of urine, or food containers;
  • Allocating 50% of any fines collected to cities or counties to be spent on law or litter enforcement;
  • Making littering a Class B misdemeanor instead of Class C;
  • Penalizing drivers who litter by adding three points to their drivers licenses.

We’ve all seen the negative impacts of litter whether we’re driving down the street or out on the water. By increasing the penalties for littering and giving communities the funds they need to deal with litter, HB 500 is an important step toward cleaning up our state.

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