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Montgomery – With Wednesday’s passage of the School Choice and Student Opportunity Act, Speaker Mike Hubbard announced that the Alabama House Republican Caucus has successfully secured approval of all of the bills in its multi-faceted “Alabama First” legislative agenda.

“The House Republican agenda represents a commitment to our constituents that these are the bills we feel are among the most important and most worthy of being prioritized.  Just as we have done in past years, our caucus has kept its word and approved each of them in record time,” Hubbard said.  “Our ‘Alabama First’ agenda was designed to put our state firmly on the road to being first in education, first in economic development, and when it comes to battling liberal federal mandates, these bills work to always put Alabama values first.  We urge the Senate to take quick action on these bills and forward them to the governor for his signature.”

The agenda includes a cross-section of sweeping public education reforms, job creation and economic development measures, criminal justice legislation, and conservative social reforms.

Among the bills included in the “Alabama First” agenda being sent to the State Senate for consideration are:

The School Choice and Student Opportunity Act by State Rep. Terri Collins (R – Decatur) will provide additional school choice options through the creation of public charter schools and other parental empowerment tools vital to a student’s educational growth and success. SB45 received final approval by the Senate on Wednesday and has been sent to the Governor for final approval.

The 21st Century Workforce Scholarship Initiative by Rep. Alan Baker (R-Brewton) calls for an additional $5 million in funding for student scholarships in career-tech dual enrollment programs across our state.  The funding has already been placed in the working draft of the FY2016 Education Trust Fund budget, which originates in the House.

An Economic Development Initiative that includes bills sponsored by State Rep. Paul Lee (R – Dothan) and State Rep. Alan Baker (R Brewton) will overhaul and update Alabama’s industrial recruitment and job creation incentives to attract new business and retain existing ones.

The Regulation Repeal Act by State Rep. Chris Pringle (R Mobile) will repeal more than 300 obsolete, unenforceable, and unneeded laws that are currently on the books.

The Truth in Salary Act by State Rep. Donnie Chesteen (R Geneva) will require state agencies and public education entities to provide employees with an annual itemized statement detailing all benefits that are being provided along with their cost to the taxpayers.

The Freedom of Religion in Marriage Protection Act by State Rep. Jim Hill (R Moody) will protect judges, ministers, and others from being forced to officiate wedding ceremonies that violate their fundamental religious and moral beliefs and provides them with a level of civil lawsuit protection for their decision.

The Student Religious Liberties Act by State Rep. Mack Butler (R Rainbow City) will re-establish the freedom of student-led prayer and religious expression in our schools by requiring officials to adopt formal constitutional guidelines expressly allowing such displays.

The Capital Punishment Preservation Act by State Rep. Lynn Greer (R Rogersville) will allow the Department of Corrections to once again utilize the electric chair as the primary method of execution if lethal injection is ruled unconstitutional or if the drugs essential to carrying out that death penalty process are unavailable for any reason.


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