Alabama becomes ninth state to mandate CDL training on human trafficking; drafting error kills ‘John-shaming’ bill


Special to the
Opelika Observer

On June 11, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey officially signed HB261 into law, while HB262 was pocket vetoed because of a drafting error. A ceremonial public signing for HB261 is expected in August.
Alabama House Assistant Minority Leader Rep. Merika Coleman (D-Birmingham) sponsored both bills with Education Policy Chair Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur). Sen. Linda Coleman-Madison (D-Birmingham) and Sen. Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) guided the bills through the Senate.
HB261 requires all new commercial driver licensees to undergo industry-specific human trafficking training. Truckers Against Trafficking, a national organization that trains truckers on identifying human trafficking victims in their daily work life, will work with junior colleges and trade schools to facilitate the training.
With the passage of HB261, Alabama becomes the ninth state to partner with Truckers Against Trafficking and pass a law mandating human trafficking training for new CDL drivers.
HB262 would have clarified existing law to prohibit publishing photos of those charged with the act of prostitution, while allowing for publishing photos of those charged with soliciting or procuring prostitution. The bill was aimed at deterring “John’s” from purchasing sex and supporting human trafficking, while protecting potential victims of human trafficking from public identification.
A last-minute amendment by Sen. Tim Melson (R-Florence), intended to protect innocent “John’s” from public exposure, contained a drafting error that made HB262 more ambiguous and potentially detrimental for victims. For that reason, Ivey’s staff advised her to pocket veto the bill.
The bill will be re-introduced next year, and Coleman’s team plans to work closely with the Governor’s Office and her Republican counterparts to ensure passage of a clean bill.
The Governor also signed two human trafficking resolutions: HJR145 and HJR244. HJR145 encourages ALEA to continue developing curriculum to ensure that every law enforcement officer and agent in the state is trained regarding human trafficking victim identification.
HJR244 creates the Alabama Healthcare Human Trafficking Training Program Commission, which is tasked with developing a training module for all healthcare related employees to readily identify and provide trauma-centered care for human trafficking victims.
“We are disappointed that HB262 was not signed, but are thankful for the diligence of the Governor’s staff in catching the drafting error,” Coleman said. “I look forward to working more closely with her office and my Republican colleagues on future human trafficking related legislation.”


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