The Alabama House Republican Caucus on Thursday announced the measures that will be included in its official legislative agenda for the 2017 regular session, which convenes on February 7. Titled the “Alabama Proud” legislative agenda, it seeks to highlight, improve, and protect the aspects that make our state a special place to live, work, and raise our children.
“Alabamians are a fiercely proud people who appreciate the traditions, qualities, and deeply held conservative beliefs that make our state unique,” House Majority Leader Micky Hammon (R – Decatur) said. “Our agenda demonstrates that members of the Alabama House Republican Caucus share the deep pride in our state, especially the strong progress that has been made in areas like education, economic development, and protecting traditional values.”
Alabama House Speaker Mac McCutcheon reiterated the progress the Caucus has made over the past several years.
“The House Republican Caucus is proud to serve the people of our state and is equally proud to continue our efforts to uphold the rights, values, and beliefs that Alabamians hold dear,” McCutcheon said. “We have taken the time to listen to the people of Alabama and based on their feedback, I believe they will be proud to support the initiatives in this agenda.”
The “Alabama Proud” Legislative Agenda includes:
PRIDE IN OUR TEACHERS AND STUDENTS
Alabama has made great strides in public education in recent years, especial
ly in the areas of school choice and accountability, and much of our academic progress can be attributed directly to our classroom teachers and the hardworking students they instruct. We understand that the ability to learn develops at the earliest stages, so the “Alabama Proud” agenda calls for prioritized funding for the state’s nationally-recognized “First Class” Pre-Kindergarten program. House Republicans also believe that teachers and students must be protected and made to feel secure during instructional hours, so we also support the implementation of the Electronic Notification System recommended by the School Safety Task Force and will take steps to ensure it is available to all school districts across Alabama.
PRIDE IN OUR BORDERS
Alabamians have a deep respect for the law, and most of our citizens also hold police officers, state troopers, and other law enforcement personnel in the highest regard. House Republicans understand that our laws must be enforced, our borders must be protected, and our citizens must be shielded from those who come here illegally and drain our resources. For those reasons, our “Alabama Proud” agenda includes legislation that would reinforce and strengthen existing law by withholding funding from any cities, counties, or public colleges and universities that defy immigration laws and declare themselves “sanctuary” areas that harbor illegal aliens.
PRIDE IN OUR HISTORY
Alabamians are deeply proud of our history, which has played a vital and important role in some of the seminal events in America’s past. Our state sent soldiers to bravely fight in the nation’s wars, and the foot soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement used their feet as weapons to knock down doors that blocked their progress. While Alabama’s history has been controversial and painful at times, it has also contributed to making our nation a freer, stronger, and better land as a result. Some more radical elements across the nation have sought to tear down reminders of our history and prevent future generations from learning lessons that past experience can teach. House Republicans understand the importance of using the past as a roadmap for our future, so our “Alabama Proud” agenda includes legislation that would prevent the removal of long-standing monuments, statues and memorials and a bill that requires mandatory civics education and makes successful passage of a citizenship exam a prerequisite for high school graduation.
PRIDE IN ALABAMA VALUES
Alabamians are a conservative people, by nature, and we hold fiercely to traditional values, even when liberal, out-of-state elites condemn our moral approach to issues. Among our most important values is a proud and unrepentant belief in the sanctity of unborn life, one that House Republicans proudly share. In order to demonstrate our devotion to the unborn, the House Republican leadership will schedule a “Pro-Life Day” within the session and include two important measures on the work agenda – a constitutional amendment declaring Alabama a pro-life state so we will be prepared to take action when Roe v. Wade is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, and a bill protecting doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel from being forced to perform abortion procedures that violate their moral beliefs.
PRIDE IN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Alabama has continually led the nation in economic development for roughly the past two decades, and our success, which was built on the backs of Alabamians’ work ethic, shows no sign of abating. House Republicans recognize that the majority of new and expanded jobs provided in the state originate from small businesses, and we seek to offer them a helping hand. Our “Alabama Proud” agenda includes a measure calling upon the governor to revive the Office of Small Business Development and provide business owners with a one-stop shop to fill their needs, answer their questions, and assist them with various governmental requirements.
PRIDE IN GOVERNMENT REFORM
While conservative in nature, Alabamians are also an independent people who do not always conform to the status quo and understand that change is sometimes necessary. That is among the reasons why House Republicans have worked hard to reform the way state government operates while implementing efficiencies and accountability. While dozens of wide-ranging, long-term government reforms have already been implemented, our Caucus realizes that more work remains to be done, and we hope to see similar reforms implemented on the national level. For those reasons, our “Alabama Proud” legislative agenda includes measures praising and continuing the reform-minded work of the Joint Legislative Budget Reform Task Force and the Consumer Lending Task Force, and a resolution calling upon the U.S. Congress to work cooperatively with President Donald Trump in implementing the ambitious government reform agenda that he voiced across the nation throughout the presidential campaign.
Agenda bills were proposed by Republican House members and were vetted by the Caucus’s Agenda Committee, which was chaired by Rep. Chris Pringle (R – Mobile) and included Rep. Chris Blackshear (R – Phenix City), Rep. David Faulkner (R – Mountain Brook), Rep. Bob Fincher (R – Woodland), Rep. Mark Tuggle (R – Alexander City), Rep. Connie Rowe (R – Jasper), and Rep. Ritchie Whorton (R-Scottsboro) as members.
“When we brought the agenda before the full Caucus, it was approved unanimously because it truly reflects the bedrock conservative beliefs of most Republicans,” Pringle said. “I am confident that the bills in our ‘Alabama Proud’ agenda will secure quick approval when brought up for consideration on the House floor.”