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House swears in two new members on first day of legislative session

The entrance to the Alabama Statehouse on South Union Street.

Tuesday, the Alabama legislature started the 2020 legislative session. The first order of business was to swear in two new members who had won special elections since the 2019 legislative session ended.

Republican Charlotte Meadows was elected by Montgomery voters to fill the vacancy created by the sudden death of Dimitri Polizos (R-Montgomery).

Republican Van Smith was elected by Chilton and Autauga County voters to fill the vacancy created by the death of Jimmy Martin (R-Clanton) from a long illness.

“We want to welcome our two newest members,” Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) said at the swearing in ceremony. “We are happy to have them as part of our body.”

Speaker Pro Tem Victor Gaston (R-Mobile) said, “We congratulate Rep. Meadows and Smith and welcome them as part of the House of Representatives.”

The two new Representatives swore to defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Alabama.

Both Meadows and Smith defeated multiple Republican primary opponents and a general election opponent to win their seats.

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The House passed a resolution honoring the heroic sacrifice of 23 year-old Navy Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson. Watson had just finish his studies at the U.S. Naval Academy and was stationed at Pensacola, Florida for flight training, when a foreign flight student turned terrorist an. d attacked the base. Watson was the duty officer of the day and confronted the shooter rather than running away. Watson was shot seven times; but still found security teams and told them where to find the shooter, potentially saving dozens of lives. The shooter was killed. Watson and two other sailors died in the attack. Ensign Watson’s brother and girlfriend were both there to celebrate his life and heroism.

At 6:30 Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) addressed both Houses of the Alabama legislature in a joint session in the Old House Chambers of Alabama’s Capital building.

Under legislative rules, the legislature has to wait for committee approvals to address legislation. A number of bills will be addressed in legislative committees on Wednesday. Both Houses of the legislature will return for day two of the Alabama legislative session on Thursday.

The legislature is limited to just thirty legislative days per regular session.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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