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Alabama Democrats unveil 2024 legislative agenda

Alabama Democrats released their legislative agenda last week ahead of the 2024 Legislative Session.

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Alabama Democrats released their legislative agenda last week ahead of the 2024 Legislative Session.

One of the party’s primary objectives will be to counter the Alabama Republican Party’s intent to pass legislation creating a school voucher program.

“We steadfastly oppose unaccountable school choice voucher schemes that seek to defund public education and use taxpayer dollars to increase the profit of private schools,” said State Rep. Barbara Drummond, D-Mobile, during a press conference announcing the agenda. “These schemes are there to award those who can already afford private education while they ignore the needs of the rural Alabama children with disabilities, financially struggling families, and the commonsense, critical necessity for standardized benchmarks to accurately gauge academic performance. If we have to do it in public schools, they need to do it in private schools.”

Bills in recent session to create Education Savings Accounts have been uniformly left by the wayside, but things are changing as Gov. Kay Ivey is set to reveal her plan for ESAs tonight at her State of the State address.

Democrats will also pick up a battle right where it left off at the very end of last year’s legislative session.

A bill that would make it a crime in some instances to assist a voter in filling out an absentee ballot made it nearly to the finish line but ultimately fell short of getting a vote on the Senate floor.

The agenda isn’t all focused on challenging Republicans. There is bipartisan support for workforce development reform.

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The agenda calls for expanding workforce participation by addressing childcare, transportation and housing.

Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth’s Commission on the 21st Century Workforce released recommendations in January that would include addressing many of these same points.

Democrats in the House are also focusing on closing the healthcare coverage gap, and Republican leadership has hinted at interest in finally expanding Medicare.

One of major element of the agenda is seeking to reverse the state’s recent legislation allowing firearms to be carried without a permit. Democrats fought the bill when it passed two years ago, and have continued to argue that it is a public safety concern.

Other priorities on the agenda include reforming pardon and paroles, further gun reform including banning glock switches and ghost guns, eliminating obstacles to voting, and ending gerrymandering.

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

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