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Alabama House GOP Caucus unveils policy agenda; Priorities include Critical Race Theory ban, passing constitutional carry

Alabama House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) on Wednesday revealed his caucus’ public policy agenda for the upcoming legislative session.

House Republicans’ agenda, “Standing Tall for Alabama,” includes an array of conservative policy measures the majority party plans to pass from the legislature’s lower chamber.

Ledbetter’s caucus seeks to address issues such as protecting the Second Amendment, prohibiting Critical Race Theory (CRT) teachings in public schools, defending first responders, tax cuts for small businesses and farmers and expanding broadband access in rural Alabama.

In rolling out the legislative agenda, Ledbetter advised that the House Republican Caucus members stood united in their efforts to achieve their conservative policy goals.

“Our 2022 ‘Standing Tall for Alabama’ agenda is a broad-based plan that positively affects every Alabamian and makes our state an even better place to live, work, worship, and raise a family,” proclaimed Ledbetter. “While other bills will certainly be introduced, debated, and voted upon during the 2022 session, Republican House members have unanimously pledged to prioritize and pass through our chamber the measures that are included in our agenda.”

State Rep. Randall Shedd (R-Fairview), chairman of the House GOP Caucus platform committee, worked alongside Republican lawmakers to submit bills for the committee’s consideration and recommendation. According to a release, the full caucus membership approved the recommendations at a recent meeting.

Shedd asserted that House Republicans’ legislative agenda represented the desires of the citizenry.

“I believe the platform committee crafted a document that truly reflects the needs, issues, and concerns that matter most to our fellow Alabamians,” Shedd declared. “It is an ambitious but achievable agenda that is firmly rooted in constitutional principles, conservative policies, and commonsense philosophy.”

The following legislators serve on the House Republican Caucus agenda committee:

  • State Rep. Danny Garrett (R-Trussville)
  • State Rep. Alan Baker (R-Brewton)
  • State Rep. Chip Brown (R-Hollinger’s Island)
  • State Rep. Joe Lovvorn (R-Auburn)
  • State Rep. Proncey Robertson (R-Mount Hope)
  • State Rep. Scott Stadthagen (R-Hartselle)
  • State Rep. Allen Treadaway (R-Morris)
  • State Rep. Ritchie Whorton (R-Owens Cross Roads)
  • State Rep. Margie Wilcox (R-Mobile)
  • State Rep. Debbie Wood (R-Valley)

Second Amendment

The House GOP Caucus has committed itself to passing legislation known as constitutional carry, which would end what it referred to as the “gun tax” for law-abiding Alabamians in the form of permit fees.

State Reps. Shane Stringer (R-Citronelle) and Andrew Sorrell (R-Muscle Shoals) have both carried legislation to pass the measure.

House Republicans aim to shield state law enforcement officers from federally-mandated enforcement of what it called “unconstitutional, anti-Second Amendment” executive orders that are issued by the Biden administration.

Critical Race Theory

The caucus also said it was committed to legislatively banning CRT and other “extremist social doctrines” from being taught in taxpayer-funded public schools. The controversial race-focused progressive academic concept last year was banned by the Alabama State Board of Education. However, GOP lawmakers are seeking to prohibit the teachings from being incorporated into public school curriculum by enshrining the ban into law.

Law Enforcement

The unlawful uprising that occurred in downtown Birmingham during the summer of 2020 inspired the introduction of “The Alabama Anti-Riot Act,” which would strengthen punishments for individuals who lead or partake in rioting. House Republicans aim to pass the bill once again during the upcoming session of the state legislature.

The House GOP’s policy agenda calls for the passage of the “First Responder Protection Act,” which would create first and second degree felony crimes for assaulting a first responder.

Abortion

House Republicans look to streamline adoption procedures for foster care and adoption agencies to make for a more efficient process for children to transition into permanent family units.

According to the caucus, a resolution will be passed to urge the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the State of Mississippi’s abortion ban after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Election Integrity

The House GOP Caucus stated its opposition to any and all efforts led by the legislature’s Democrats to “erode the state’s election integrity, voter identification and absentee ballot security laws.”

Tax Reform

The majority caucus plans to pass a tax cut that would exempt the first $40,000 of business personal property from taxation.

Teachers/Public Employees

The caucus advised that it will pass legislation to approve pay raises for active public education workers and state employees. House Republicans also stated their intentions to pass a longevity bonus for retired teachers, support personnel, and retired state employees based on years of service. The bill would authorize local governments participating in the Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA) to offer similar bonuses to retirees.

Broadband Expansion

House Republicans intend to appropriate funding and prioritize the expansion of broadband services across rural regions of the Yellowhammer State in an effort to bring high-speed internet services to those currently underserved.

Military/Veterans

The House GOP Caucus announced that it would approve a series of bills recommended by the Military Stability Commission, which it stated was crafted to make Alabama the nation’s friendliest state for the military community. Additionally, the legislative package would preserve and expand the state’s military bases and infrastructure.

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL