The 2017 Alabama Legislature passed several bills that are relevant to public education. The Alabama Association of School Boards has provided a synopsis of some of these general bills.
* ACT 2017-173 Requires K-12 students to pass a civics test (U.S. naturalization test) as a component of the government course in the high school course of study beginning in the 2018-19 school year; authorizes local boards to determine implementation of the test; provides a special education exemption and allows the chief school administrator to grant a waiver for good cause. S.32 (Orr) Effective July 1, 2017.
* ACT 2017-259 Grants military recruiters of the United States Armed Forces and Department of Homeland Security the same information and access to students as granted to prospective employers or postsecondary institutions. S.203 (Holtzclaw) Effective August 1, 2017.
* ACT 2017-278 Allows students in public and non-public schools to possess and use FDA-regulated, over-the-counter sunscreen without a physician’s order. S.63 (McClendon) Effective May 16, 2017.
* ACT 2017-337 Requires health benefit plans to cover Applied Behavior Analysis treatment for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder; benefits are subject to an age-based sliding scale and capped at the age of 18. H.284 (Patterson) Effective October 1, 2017.
* ACT 2017-368 Requires a local board of education to provide information about the influenza disease and vaccine whenever other health information is provided to parents and guardians. H.381 (Daniels) Effective August 1, 2017.
* ACT 2017-354 Creates the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act of 2017 and establishes a Committee on Alabama Monument Protection; prohibits the relocation, removal, alteration, renaming or other disturbance of architecturally significant or memorial buildings in place for more than 40 years; provides a waiver process for those buildings in place 20 to 40 years; exempts K-12 and post-secondary from the structural prohibitions; requires a waiver to rename K-12 or post-secondary memorial schools in place for more than 20 years. S.60 (Allen) Effective May 24, 2017.
* ACT 2017-120 Changes the dates of the annual back-to-school sales tax holiday from the week beginning the first Friday in August to the third Friday in July each year. S.136 (Melson) Effective April 29,2017.
* ACT 2017-421 Creates the Farm-to-School Procurement Act; allows federal school nutrition funds to be used to purchase unprocessed agricultural products pursuant to the federal simplified acquisition threshold as an exception to the competitive bid process for local boards of education. H.53 (Beech) Effective May 26, 2017.
* Act 2017-401 Requires the state Department of Education to implement an electronic notification system to allow local school systems to enter information regarding school delays, early releases, shelter-in-place and other emergency information in a central repository accessible by the department and governor. H.89 (Baker) Effective August 1, 2017.
* ACT 2017-335 Appropriates $6.42 billion from the Education Trust Fund for the support, maintenance and development of public education in Alabama, for debt service and for the capital outlay for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2018. S.129 (Orr) Effective October 1, 2017.
* ACT 2017-374 Creates the Alabama Youth Residential Facility Abuse Prevention Act; establishes state registration, regulation and accountability measures for faith-based, church nonprofit or for-profit alternative facilities and programs that require a minimum 24-hour on-site residency for children; requires criminal background checks for employees and volunteers. H.440 (McMillan) Effective May 24, 2017.
* ACT 2017-171 Amends the Alabama Community College System designation to a corporate body; authorizes its employees to participate in the Teachers’ Retirement System of Alabama and State Employees’ Health Insurance Plan; specifies that employees of community and technical colleges participate in the Teachers’ Retirement System of Alabama and Public Education Employees’ Health Insurance Plan; provides for the acquisition, conveyance and disposal of property. H.163 (McMillan) Effective April 20, 2017.