Appeals Court Refuses to Lift Injunction on Public Charge Rule

A panel of federal judges has denied a request to lift the injunction on the implementation of the public charge rule while the a lawsuit over the rule plays out in court. Under the new rule, announced in August, an immigrant would be considered a public charge — essentially dependent on government aid and, therefore, inadmissible — if he or she received at least one public benefit for more than 12 months within any three-year period, among other things. The new rule also authorizes DHS to conduct a more thorough and burdensome examination of the immigrant and his or her sponsor’s financial history, health, and education. The net result of the rule, if implemented, would be to increase the burden on most immigrants and increase the number of application denials on public charge grounds.

Medical Marijuana Update

During the 2019 legislative session, the Alabama Senate passed a bill legalizing medical marijuana in the state. The Alabama House was reluctant to approve the new law without additional research and through compromise a joint proposal was reached establishing a  medical marijuana study commission to research the issue, collect expert and public opinion and review the laws of states which have already legalized medical marijuana. The compromise bill was signed into law by the Governor in June and the commission was given 6 months to accomplish their task and present a report and proposed legislation to the legislature. The report and draft bill were submitted on December 20 and recommended the legalization of marijuana for certain medical conditions under the strong regulation of a new agency, the Alabama Cannabis Commission. The 72 page proposed bill will be introduced in the upcoming legislative section.

Of interest to Alabama Employers is that the proposed bill allows Employers to refuse to permit or accommodate the possession or use of medical cannabis or modify job duties to accommodate use.  It expressly allows Employers to refuse to hire or discipline an employee because of possession or use of medical marijuana and allows Employers to establish and enforce drug testing policies and drug free workplace programs.  Finally, the proposed bill provides that employees suffering a work injury while using medical cannabis are ineligible for worker’s compensation benefits if the injury was caused by the employee’s action or inaction.

Whether this bill passes in the upcoming months or a revised bill remains to be seen.  Stay tuned.

By: Attorney Celia Collins



Happy New Year!

As 2019 comes to an end, and a new decade approaches, we would like to take the time to reflect and express our gratitude to everyone who has helped make this year so special. It is truly a privilege to have such great friends and clients that make our growth and continued business success possible. We look forward to all the opportunities that 2020 brings and hope that you and your family have the best New Year!

Disclaimer: The ethical rules by which Alabama attorneys are governed mandate that no communication concerning a lawyer's services shall be published...unless it contains in legible...language the following: "No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers."