The Alabama House has passed a bill to require employers to allow workers time off for jury duty and can't make them use vacation days or sick time.
The sponsor, Representative Cam Ward of Alabaster says the bill is a comprehensive rewrite of the laws concerning jury duty. The law specifies that workers can take legal action against employers who fire or penalize them for answering a summons to jury duty.
The House passed the bill 81 to three and sent it to the Senate for debate.
The measure also protects small businesses with five or less workers from losing their work force to jury duty. The bill says only one worker from these businesses can be called to jury duty at the same time.
The bill also says a person can only be called to serve as a juror once every two years and can be fined up to $300 for skipping jury duty.
Ward says a purpose of the bill is to encourage people to serve on jury duty.