Monday, February 11, 2008

Legislation on tap

While Alabama may be behind the times in beer laws, we're on the cutting edge when it comes to transparency of the legislative process online. With a system called ALISON (for Alabama Legislative Information System ONline), Web users can track the status of any bill introduced in the Legislature. You can also read the full text of each bill, and see how it fares in votes on the floor. With so much going on beer-wise in Montgomery these days, I thought some readers might find it a handy resource.

There are a bunch of other features it would take too long to explain here, but here are the basics you'll need to check up on bills you're interested in: Go to ALISON, then click on "Bills" in the top of the left-hand menu. That'll expand a list of options below; click on "Status." That'll bring up a prompt to the right for the bill number you're interested in. Type it in the box and click "Get Status." Some brief info on the bill then comes up; to the left of that is a button with your bill's number. Click on that, and then look at the top of the screen, where options including "History," "Sponsors," and "View" are listed left-to-right. Options in white are clickable (anything in gray doesn't apply yet).

Now for those all important bill numbers:

House bill to lift 6-percent ABV limit: HB196
Senate bill to lift 6-percent ABV limit: SB116
House bill to lift limit in Jefferson County: HB53

The folks at Free the Hops say they also plan more local bills and a bill to address home brewing. I'll post the numbers here as I learn them.