By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Thursday, February 02, 2017, the Alabama House Republican Caucus announced its official legislative agenda for the 2017 Regular Session, which convenes on February 7. The GOP Legislators have titled this their “Alabama Proud” legislative agenda.
Speaker of the Alabama House Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) said on social media, “Today, the Alabama House Republican Caucus announced our 2017 ‘Alabama Proud’ Legislative Agenda.”
McCutcheon added, “We are proud to serve the people of our State and are equally proud to continue our efforts to uphold the rights, values, and beliefs that Alabamians hold dear. We have taken the time to listen to the people of Alabama and based on their feedback, I believe they will be proud to support the initiatives in this agenda.”
House Majority Leader Mickey Hammon (R-Decatur) said in a statement, “Alabamians are a fiercely proud people who appreciate the traditions, qualities, and deeply held conservative beliefs that make our State unique. Our agenda demonstrates that members of the Alabama House Republican Caucus share the deep pride in our State, especially the strong progress that has been made in areas like education, economic development, and protecting traditional values.”
The Caucus is embracing the “Monuments” bill which was killed in the Alabama House of Representatives in 2016 literally in the last hour of the Legislative Session. This time the Caucus has voted to prioritize the bill which would protect the state’s monuments against removal or destruction when times and political correctness changes the caucus wrote:
“Alabamians are deeply proud of our history, which has played a vital and important role in some of the seminal events in America’s past. Our State sent soldiers to bravely fight in the nation’s wars, and the foot soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement used their feet as weapons to knock down doors that blocked their progress. While Alabama’s history has been controversial and painful at times, it has also contributed to making our nation a freer, stronger, and better land as a result. Some more radical elements across the nation have sought to tear down reminders of our history and prevent future generations from learning lessons that past experience can teach. House Republicans understand the importance of using the past as a roadmap for our future, so our “Alabama Proud” agenda includes legislation that would prevent the removal of long-standing monuments, statues and memorials and a bill that requires mandatory civics education and makes successful passage of a citizenship exam a prerequisite for high school graduation.”
A source close to the legislation said that state Representative Kyle South (R-Fayette) will introduce the bill in the House and Sen. Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa) will carry the legislation in the State Senate.
Southern Historical Protection Group President Mike Williams said on a statement, “I want to take this time to say thanks for understanding that we should continue teaching history to our children and others about the history of our State and nation removing memorials and that removal of monuments and memorials for any given period of time is the same as lying to our citizens.”
President Williams added, “The Alabama Memorial Preservation Act is a step in that direction. We know there are exceptions to any rule, but no entity should be able to make a knee jerk decision to hide any part of our history in this State, good or bad. Once again thanks, you will have our complete support.”
April is Confederate History month.
Other items on the agenda include: prioritized funding for the state’s nationally-recognized “First Class” Pre-Kindergarten program; implementation of the Electronic Notification System recommended by the School Safety Task Force; legislation that would reinforce and strengthen existing law by withholding funding from any cities, counties, or public colleges and universities that defy immigration laws and declare themselves “sanctuary” areas that harbor illegal aliens; a bill that requires mandatory civics education and makes successful passage of a citizenship exam a prerequisite for high school graduation; a constitutional amendment declaring Alabama a pro-life state so we will be prepared to take action when Roe v. Wade is overturned by the US Supreme Court; a bill protecting doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel from being forced to perform abortion procedures that violate their moral beliefs; a measure calling upon the Governor to revive the Office of Small Business Development and provide business owners with a one-stop shop to fill their needs, answer their questions, and assist them with various governmental requirements; measures praising and continuing the reform-minded work of the Joint Legislative Budget Reform Task Force and the Consumer Lending Task Force; and a resolution calling upon the US Congress to work cooperatively with President Donald Trump in implementing the ambitious government reform agenda that he voiced across the nation throughout the presidential campaign.
Agenda bills were proposed by Republican House members and were vetted by the Caucus’s Agenda Committee, which was chaired by Rep. Chris Pringle (R-Mobile). The committee included Rep. Chris Blackshear (R-Phoenix City), Rep. David Faulkner (R-Mountain Brook), Rep. Bob Fincher (R-Woodland), Rep. Mark Tuggle (R-Alexander City), Rep. Connie Rowe (R-Jasper), and Rep. Ritchie Whorton (R-Scottsboro) .
Rep. Pringle said, “When we brought the agenda before the full Caucus, it was approved unanimously because it truly reflects the bedrock conservative beliefs of most Republicans. I am confident that the bills in our ‘Alabama Proud’ agenda will secure quick approval when brought up for consideration on the House floor.”
House Minority Leader Craig Ford (D-Gadsden) was not impressed. Rep. Ford said, “This is the most do-nothing agenda I have ever seen. The only thing of any real substance is their support for pre-K, and that is something Democrats have been pushing for years! The rest of it is just talk and no change. Not one thing in this agenda will create jobs, expand opportunities or make a hill of beans difference in people’s lives. If this is what the taxpayers are paying Republicans to come up with, then the people of Alabama deserve a refund!”