MONTGOMERY — Legislation subjecting the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) to a one-time state audit passed the Senate Education Policy Committee on Wednesday.

State Sen. Lance Bell (R-Pell City), the bill's sponsor, said at the committee meeting, "There's been a lot of discussion about AHSAA, and I think this audit may do more to clear up questions, and my hope is that it settles down a lot of talk dealing with them." 

"I think when it comes back, my hope is it's a great audit, everything is doing good, and maybe things go away for them for a while, and we don't have six or seven bills coming next year or the next year and maybe this one-time audit will clear up confusion and questions and show that, 'Hey, they're doing what their bylaws say and leave them alone.' That's what my hope is; that's what my intent is," Bell said. 

Alvin Briggs, AHSAA executive director, told the committee he wasn't an opponent or proponent of the bill but "just here to state there is no need for the bill." 

"All I am saying is that we have offered our audit. As a nonprofit, we have to do a 99 with the federal government every year and do our audit. We have an independent audit. We welcome the state examiner to do an audit. We have no qualms about it. We're just saying there's no need for the bill," Briggs said. "We have always opened our doors. Since I have been there we've had several committee members, we have had several legislators come over and look at our finances. We do the best we can with what we got. We consider ourselves like a large school system in that we keep one year in reserve. Anything that we have over that one year in reserve, we give back to our schools. We've been giving back to our schools since 2010. We have given over $25 million to our membership. Also, our membership has not paid dues in 33 years. They have not paid dues since 1991. We are one of the few state associations that don't accept dues anymore."

Briggs continued, "I know we have a clean audit. I'm looking forward to whomever this body wants to look at our audit and go through our audit, we have no qualms with that. We have no problems with that. All I am here saying is that there is no need for a bill."

The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration and would still need the House's approval and Gov. Kay Ivey's signature to become law. 

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