2014 legislative update: Changes to state landlord-tenant law approved in Alabama Senate

The Alabama Senate voted 28-0 Thursday for a bill that would adjust some deadlines in the state’s landlord-tenant law in favor of property owners. SB 291, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, goes to the House.

Current state law requires landlords to provide tenants with a 14-day written notice if they plan to terminate the lease for a violation that does not involve failure to pay rent. SB 291 would halve that timeframe to seven days. The notice period to terminate a lease for failure to pay rent would remain at the current seven days.

Landlords could treat a property as abandoned if electrical service is cut off for at least a week under SB 291. The bill also would give landlords 60 days to refund a tenant’s security deposit or give notice of why they are keeping some or all of it, nearly doubling the current 35-day window.

The original proposal would have offered tenants no right to correct, or “cure,” problems cited as a lease violation unless the landlord gave express written consent. A Senate committee last month amended that provision to give renters two chances every 12 months to correct such problems. The Senate increased that to four chances Thursday by adopting an amendment offered by Sen. Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham.

Names of execution drug suppliers would be confidential under House-approved bill

The names of companies that provide Alabama with the drugs it uses to perform lethal injections would remain confidential under a bill that the state House passed 77-19 Thursday. HB 379, sponsored by Rep. Lynn Greer, R-Rogersville, goes to the Senate.

Greer’s bill also would shield the identity of anyone who participates in a state-sanctioned execution or performs any ancillary function related to one. Click here to read the Associated Press’ report on the House’s action.

Alabama House passes bill on redistribution of unused HIV drugs

Pharmacies that dispense HIV medications for or in HIV clinics could redistribute certain unopened drugs under a bill that the Alabama House passed 99-0 Wednesday. HB 138, sponsored by Rep. Patricia Todd, D-Birmingham, goes to the Senate.

HIV clinics now must destroy unopened medications if patients do not show up for treatment. Todd’s bill would allow pharmacies to redispense the drugs to other patients and would set controls on handling and oversight of the drugs. Arise and other consumer advocates last year urged Gov. Robert Bentley to support this policy change as his Medicaid Pharmacy Study Commission met to look at ways to reduce costs in the state’s Medicaid drug assistance programs.

Lawmakers will return Tuesday for the 23rd of 30 allowable meeting days during the 2014 regular session, which is expected to last until early April.

By Chris Sanders, communications director. Posted March 7, 2014.

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