On Saturday, Feb. 25, before the 2024 governor-elect spoke and answered questions from the media and lobbyists during a joint session, the Best Bill Awards were presented in the Alabama House of Representative chambers at the Alabama State House. The Best Bills are chosen by an independent committee of adults.
HOUSE BEST BILL
HB23 by Lily Johnson, Mountain Brook High School, would require incoming high school freshmen to take a financial literacy class.
SENATE BEST BILL
SB48 by Rebecca Berry, Vestavia Hills High School, would expand Medicaid in Alabama.
FIRST YEAR BEST BILL
FYB19, the Uniforms in Public Schools Act, by Sophie Hicks of Mountain Brook High School, would require the State Department of Education to set standards for school uniforms every two years, including design and cost.
BILLS SIGNED INTO LAW
Gov. Camila Lopez signed 23 bills into law during the 74th Alabama YMCA Youth Legislature. These bills either passed both the Youth Legislature House and Senate or were approved by the members of the First-Year program. The bills that become law are:
HB25, Green card holders who are taxpayers allowed to vote in state election by Amolika Mishra and Ayah Mahmoud, Saint James School, grants taxpaying green-card holders, age 18 and older, the right to vote in state elections.
HB42, Abusers Don’t Care Who You Are by Lilia Sokol of Spain Park High School, legalizes consensual sodomy and integrates sodomy into the definition of rape.
HB51, Protect the Coosa by Carys Collins, Spain Park High School, upholds EPA regulations concerning sewer systems to be enforced and funded by the Department of Environmental Management.
HB61, GUNS! by Libby Baty, Spain Park High School, requires state background checks for the purchase of firearms and processing through the FBI’s NICS database.
SB5, Repeal of Money Bail by Connor Jenkins, Mountain Brook High School, repeals the use of cash bail in the Alabama criminal justice system.
SB32, Mental Health Matters by Annabelle King, Spain Park High School, requires teachers to take a course and pass an exam on student mental health to be able to teach in the state of Alabama.
SB42, Educational Refuge for Alabama’s Refugees by Hannah Broders, Davidson High School, establishes a charter school in Mobile for refugee and immigrant students, funded by Inspritus, a refugee nonprofit.
SB55, The Heathy Food Access for All Alabamians Act by Luke Pappalardo, Vestavia Hills High School, authorizes a 15% tax credit for new grocery stores and lowers the Tangible Personal Property tax of grocery stores by 5% in areas designated as food deserts.
SB60, Punishing the Problem by CJ Johnson and Lydia Burn, Spain Park High School, decriminalizes prostitution and further criminalizes solicitation.
FY8, Silenced by Time by Jaja Gancayco, Montgomery Catholic Preparatory School, eliminates the statute of limitations that is attached to sexual assault cases.
FY27, No More Vroom Vroom by Anna Beth Frazier, Spain Park High School, requires specific mechanical shops to inspect vehicles for catalytic converters, head/tail lights and air/fuel levels.
FY31, The Dangers of Sex Offenders by Lily Landers, Spain Park High School, increases the minimum penalty for a sex offenders crimes from 10 to 25 years.
FY35, Organ Donation Takes Guts by Ansley Gilbert, Spain Park High School, makes organ donation an opt-out program.
FY39, Bunnies over Beauty by Sadie Brewer, Spain Park High School, makes cosmetic testing on animals illegal and enforced by biannual inspections of factories.
FY43, Hangry for Tax Relief by Bella Angelone, Spain Park High School, removes grocery taxes and increases property taxes by $4 per $1,000.
FY50, Perfect Attendance is Not Perfect Mental Health, by Tenley White and Julie Nguyen, Ozark-Carroll High School, grants students from 6th to 12th grades an additional five mental health days a year and provides for a mental health professional in schools.
FY62, Gun Permissions in Alabama by Liana Jayasena, Davidson High School, requires a firearms permit to carry a pistol.
FY67, The North Birmingham Clean Air Act by Mekhiah Canady, Parker High School, prevents hazardous chemical entities from operating in low-income minority residential areas, with fines paid directly to affected residents.
FY81, Designate Juneteenth as a State Holiday by Lulu Espy and Frances Fitzpatrick, Montgomery Academy, designates the third Saturday in June as a state holiday to commemorate abolition, in accord with the federal holiday.
FY88, Watchful Workers by Kendall Grahn, Spain Park High School, provides Department of Labor training for staff in airports, malls, hotels and other large facilities near state borders to identify signs of human trafficking.
FY93 Child Sex Offenders Act 2023 by Kate Guven, Vestavia Hills High School
FY103, Legalization of Abortion, by Bethany Yin, Mountain Brook High School, makes abortion legal everywhere in the state of Alabama, for any reason.
FY104, A bill to fund the care of indigent patients in Alabama hospitals by Abby Garmany, Cherokee County funds hospital care for indigent patients.