March 4, 2021

Virus, prison crisis, gambling among issues for Alabama lawmakers in 2021

Alabama lawmakers will return to Montgomery on Tuesday for the 2021 regular session, which will be conducted differently because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lawmakers convene at noon. Republican lawmakers have said a top priority for the first weeks of the session will be legislation to shield companies and others from civil lawsuit liability during the COVID-19 pandemic. Other key issues include gambling legislation, a state prison crisis and medical marijuana legislation.

Lawmakers this year will have to draw new congressional districts but that may occur in a special session later in the year.

Gov. Kay Ivey will give her annual State of the State address to lawmakers Tuesday night, but legislators will watch by remote feed.

The governor on Monday signed agreements to lease two new state prisons, an action that has raised the objections of some lawmakers.

Legislators plan to meet for two weeks and then take a break to review COVID-19 precautions.