AL Senate Passes Road Safety Bill

We’ve just finished the third week of the 2015 Legislative Session, and the focus in the state house has been on the governor’s revenue bills and charter schools. However, a handful of conservation bills have been introduced, and one has made it out of the Senate.

Senate Bill 4 was introduced by Senator Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa) to create a safe passing distance of three feet between automobiles and bicycles on the road to make roads safer for all users. During the debate on the bill, Senator Bill Holtzclaw (R-Madison County) requested an increase in the required passing distance to ten feet. After further discussion this week, the Senate agreed to a compromise that requires a distance of five feet between cars and bikes. The bill was passed by a 16-11 vote, and will now be debated by the Alabama House of Representatives.

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In the House, Representative Lynn Greer (R-Rogersville) introduced HB61, a bill that would increase the penalties for violations of the safety standards for gas and hazardous liquid pipelines. The current penalty is $10,000 for each violation, and HB61 allows for a maximum penalty of $200,000 for each violation on each day that violation exists. It also increases the maximum civil penalty for any related series of violations from $500,000 to $2 million.

Also introduced was SB69 – the Hire Alabama First Bill. This bill will ensure that when disasters occur in Alabama, the first workers hired for clean up and/or restoration projects related to those disasters are Alabama residents. Senator Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) introduced the bill, which was drafted as a result of efforts by the communities most impacted by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster.

As the legislative session continues, we can expect further debate on these bills, and the introduction of more bills that could impact the people and places you love. We’ll continue to post our weekly blog to update you on what’s happening at the state house, and in the meantime you can use our Bill Tracker or follow us on Twitter @ConservationAL to keep up with the latest developments.

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