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Alabama Legislature will return to session May 4

A view of the Alabama Statehouse on South Union Street in Montgomery, Alabama. (STOCK PHOTO)

The Alabama Legislature plans to return to its regular session beginning May 4 after postponing the session in March amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Alabama House Speaker Mac McCutcheon and Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh said Thursday that the Legislature will resume meetings on May 4, and will likely continue meeting until May 18, the constitutionally mandated adjournment date of the session.

“Our goal for the remainder of the session is to conduct the people’s business that is required by the Constitution and position Alabama to repair the economic damage that has been done by the unavoidable public health quarantine,” McCutcheon said.  “We remain confident that Alabama’s best days remain ahead of us, and we are eager to begin the work that will get us there.”

Because of the limited time remaining, the scope of issues deliberated by the Legislature will be much narrower than normal, and focus on them “will be more intense,” the legislative leaders said.

“It is imperative that we continue to meet and finish out the session as we move to reopen Alabama. The people elected us to lead and send us to Montgomery to pass budgets and keep the state moving forward,” Marsh said.

The state general fund and education trust fund budgets will be the Legislature’s top priority during the remaining days of the session, the leadership said. Local bills will also be addressed.

“The Senate and House leadership have firmly agreed that state budgets and local bills will be the only matters discussed, debated, and voted upon in the remainder of the session,” McCutcheon said.  “The governor always has the option of calling us into a special session later in the year to address other issues of importance.”

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McCutcheon said that protecting the health of legislators and staff members is his top concern, and he is working closely with the House Clerk’s office and the Alabama Department of Public Health to ensure that the State House’s spaces safely accommodate the 105-member body.

The current access policy for the State House will remain in effect until further notice.

“It is our constitutional requirement to pass budgets and provide some level of certainty to the education community and our state agencies,” said Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed. “Our Senators are ready to reopen Alabama for business but before we do that, we must resume the session to show the people that we will do our jobs as we work toward getting Alabama back to work.”

Chip Brownlee is a former political reporter, online content manager and webmaster at the Alabama Political Reporter. He is now a reporter at The Trace, a non-profit newsroom covering guns in America.

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