MONTGOMERY — The Alabama Senate passed legislation on Tuesday that provides a state income tax exemption for active duty pay for National Guard members and reservists.

Under current law, compensation for active service members of the United States armed forces in a combat zone is not subject to state income tax in Alabama. The bill would expand this exemption to include certain compensation of National Guard and Reserve members deployed to locations outside the United States or activated to support state or federal response to emergencies. 

"We were in the minority of states that do not exempt state tax for those active duty folks. We wanted to join the ranks and make it 31, and I think it's the least we can do for our military men and women; budgetarily, it wasn't a huge ask. That's going to mean a lot for those families," State Sen. Andrew Jones (R-Centre), the bill's sponsor, told 1819 News on Tuesday. 

According to the bill's fiscal note, it would reduce income tax receipts to the Education Trust Fund (ETF) by an estimated $1.6 million for the next fiscal year and $2.1 million each subsequent fiscal year.

The Senate also passed a separate bill by Jones on Tuesday requiring public K-12 schools and the Alabama High School Athletic Association to give a dependent child of a full-time active-duty military parent immediate eligibility to participate in school sports if the child is enrolling in a new school due to permanent change of station orders received by the parent.

"There's no clear guidance for military families when they come into the state. That's what we sought to address in this. It's been our understanding that the High School Athletic Association has been working with military families, but we wanted a policy that was set in stone that military families can point to," Jones said.

Both bills now head to the House for their consideration.

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