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ALGOP agenda prioritizes school choice, fighting “woke agenda”

The party’s priorities include “challenging the woke socialist agenda.”

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The Alabama Republican Party released its list of legislative priorities Thursday ahead of the 2024 legislative session.

The priorities include creating legislation to offer “universal school choice,” which has been a major focus ahead of the session, and “challenging the woke socialist agenda.”

“It is incredibly important that Alabama passes legislation that helps struggling families with the cost of living, safeguards our children from a socialist agenda, and defends the rights and freedoms of each individual,” said ALGOP Chairman John Wahl. “The bottom line is that we want to return control to the people of Alabama – because they know how to live their lives and raise their children better than the government does.”

The party plans to challenge the “woke socialist agenda” by passing anti-ESG legislation that prevents discrimination based on ESG protocols. The Legislature already passed a major anti-ESG bill last year, and Rep. Chip Brown, R-Hollinger’s Island, has refiled a bill from last year that further prohibits ESG factors from being used in the hiring, firing, or evaluation of employees.

The platform also calls for “stopping taxpayer funding of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs” and crafting a “Women’s Bill of Rights” to define womanhood and ensure women have access to safe spaces including bathrooms, locker rooms, and shelters. Rep. Susan Dubose, R-Hoover, carried a similar bill in the last session that would exclude transgender women from the state’s legal definition of women.

Anti-transgender legislation continues to be popular for the party, as another piece of the platform calls for “safeguarding” children from divisive ideologies “such as transgender lifestyles” in the classroom. Alabama lawmakers may bring legislation to extend the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill through 8th or even 12th grade, and Rep. Ed Oliver, R-Dadeville, plans to bring back his “divisive concepts” bill for the third straight year.

Gov. Kay Ivey will announce her version of an Education Savings Account program Monday during her State of the State address. Lawmakers could implement Ivey’s plans or go their own route; bills are already being filed that closely resemble previous attempts to establish such a program.

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The party is also looking to improve jobs and the economy by advancing workforce development and eliminating the business personal property tax. Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth announced his workforce development package last week that includes the creation of a new cabinet position while consolidating multiple existing departments.

Republicans are also seeking to cap Alabama’s annual property tax increases to offset the rising cost of living.

The party is still trying to pass legislation in the wake of Covid, including changing the process of appointing the state health officer and implementing a permanent prohibition on face mask mandates.

There is also a section of the platform on election integrity, although Alabama has consistently been one of the most secure election states, and Republican lawmakers ignored an actual case of election fraud just last year when David Cole fraudulently qualified to represent House District 10.

The platform calls for post-election audits and another try at a law to criminalize helping voters fill out absentee ballots. The bill fell just short in the last session.

“It is the values of the Republican Party platform that can best help our communities and our citizens be successful,” Wahl said. “We’ve seen that in Republican legislation recently, with bills like cutting the grocery tax, banning forced vaccine passports, protecting the 2nd Amendment, and standing up against the woke agenda. We want to see our state build on these successes as we move forward this legislative session.”

The agenda does not make mention of public libraries, which some Republican lawmakers and far-right websites have been trying to attack with claims that librarians are providing inappropriate and even pornographic content to minors. Wahl serves on the board of the Alabama Public Library Service, which is currently in the process of amending its code at Ivey’s request, but lawmakers including Dubose and Sen. Arthur Orr have threatened state funding for libraries.

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Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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