After more than two-and-a-half hours of Alabama House Democrats voicing concern over Republican resolutions condemning federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates and a bank reporting proposal, members voted quickly to approve new state Senate and Board of Education district maps.
Two identical resolutions — one joint resolution and one House resolution — by Rep. Mike Jones, R-Andalusia, condemn President Joe Biden’s federal COVID-19 vaccination orders that will require federal workers and contractors to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 8.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is expected to release a rule as early as this week that will require all employers with more than 100 workers to require employees to be vaccinated or test them weekly, according to a separate order from Biden.
Several Democratic representatives spoke at length about the two resolutions, calling them divisive and a waste of the chamber’s time.
“This resolution basically is political in nature, and without substance in body,” said Rep. Sam Jones, D-Mobile, who also noted that he saw no such resolutions condemning the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
“People got killed. All kinds of things happened. A threat to Democracy. No resolution,” Jones said.
After lengthy criticism from Democrats, Republicans cut the discussion short with a cloture vote before voting to pass the joint resolution in a voice vote.
Jones asked that his other resolution be tabled, and members then debated a resolution sponsored by Rep. Wes Allen, R-Troy, that opposes a proposal by the federal government to lower the amount of a person’s bank account deposit amount that would trigger reporting requirements to the IRS.
After several Democrats expressed their concern over that resolution, Republicans again limited the discussion after a cloture vote and that resolution was also passed in a voice vote.
“I’ve enjoyed the last two hours watching people stand here and campaign for higher office, but this is what we are called here to do,” said Rep. Chris Pringle, R-Mobile, once the House took up the district map bills.
With no discussion members voted 76 to 16, with one abstention, to approve the new Senate district map. After brief discussion lawmakers voted 76-26 to approve the new state Board of Education map. Both of those new maps now head to Gov. Kay Ivey’s desk for her signature.
The Alabama Senate on Wednesday approved new congressional and state House district maps, sending those maps to Ivey for final approval as well, completing the special session’s task of addressing redistricting.