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State Sen. Elliott’s Department of Archives reform of ‘unelected bureaucrats’ passes committee

A proposed bill to change the governing structure of the Alabama Department of Archives and History is making its way through the Alabama Senate.

On Tuesday, the bill introduced by State Sen. Chris Elliot cleared the Senate County and Municipal Government Committee.

The bill specifies that all current individuals on the Department’s board would be removed and replaced with new members — chosen by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and President Pro Tem of the Senate.

“Unelected bureaucrats claiming superiority over the very people they’re meant to serve goes against the foundation of our republic. State-funded institutions are meant to reflect the will of the people, yet the Department of Archives and History has blatantly disregarded Alabama’s longstanding commitment to defending democracy and instead promoted their own professional political class,” State Sen. Elliott (R-Josephine) said after the bill’s passage through committee.

“Legislators have heard the concerns of our constituents across Alabama, and we have answered with a legislative result to implement good governance. I am proud to sponsor legislation that defends democracy for the people of Alabama.”

RELATED: State Sen. Elliott: Archives shouldn’t be ‘pushing this woke ideology’ in Alabama

Elliott said in December that the change is needed to make the board truly serve Alabama’s interests.

“That’s how we go down this dangerous path of folks like the Archives and History Board deciding with impunity on what’s good and what’s not and what they ought to be pushing and indoctrinating folks with, as opposed to actually being responsive and responsible to elected officials and, more importantly, to the people of the state of Alabama.”

Under the bill, current board members would still be eligible for reappointment in the future. Last July, Elliott also introduced legislation that would have slashed $5 million in Archive funding, which did not advance, but led to the proposal that passed in committee on Tuesday.

“The Department of Archives and History board is the definition of self-perpetuating power within bureaucracy. The current board of trustees has supported programming and education that undermines Alabama’s values,” said Alabama Senate Majority Leader Steve Livingston (R-Scottsboro).

“The Legislature established the Archives to research and preserve Alabama’s history, not to utilize public funds to promote a social agenda inconsistent with our state’s principles. Senate Republicans are committed to reining in the power of unelected boards and holding people accountable, especially when using taxpayers’ money.”

Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.

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