Alabama has, shall we say, a reputation for being a bit backward. Don’t get me wrong: I love my home state and will always live here. But sometimes that reputation is well deserved. Take, for instance, the actions of the Alabama State Legislature during the 2020 legislative session. There are several bills that have been proposed which, despite having consumer-friendly names, are in fact designed by industry lobbyists to help them at the expense of working people.
SB247 is a bill that requires tenants to pay rent into the court when they sue their landlords for breaching the rental agreement or failing to provide habitable premises. But buried in there is a hidden change to the existing law: it removes the provision that requires a landlord to make a “reasonable effort” to serve eviction papers on a tenant personally. This is a big deal, because due process of law is one of the basic rights in the U.S. and Alabama Constitutions. One of the tenets of our law on due process is that when you want to take someone to court, you have to notify them in writing of the lawsuit before you can get a judgment against them. This bill, and others like it, are designed by the rental industry to help make it easier to evict people from their homes. Is it that much to ask that you first make a “reasonable effort” to serve papers on the people you’re evicting? I think not. But evidently the Alabama legislature disagrees.
HB335 says that it “would further provide for the prohibition against pyramid sales structures by excluding plans that include a bona fide inventory repurchase program and would provide requirement for bona fide inventory repurchase programs.” Yes, you read that right. This is a bill designed to protect pyramid schemes. It does so by adding an exception to the general rule in the Alabama Deceptive Trade Practices Act for certain types of pyramid schemes. What the hell are they thinking in Montgomery? Why would we ever want to encourage more pyramid schemes? Why add an exception to a good rule? We should be banning pyramid schemes, not encouraging them.
I guess they just are hoping that nobody is watching them. But they’re wrong. If you are concerned about pyramid schemes and getting evicted without reasonable notice, you should contact your legislators and tell them to vote against these bills.