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As we start a new year, everyone begins making plans for resolutions that they want to make for themselves. Of course, most of them fade away within weeks.
So what goals are our state leaders making for Alabama in the new year, and will they actually work to achieve them in the upcoming legislative session?
This past year the Alabama Legislature was ranked as the most conservative group of lawmakers in the nation. You would then expect the plans for the year would actually match the political ideology the legislators promised on the campaign trail.
There were statements made of being fiscally conservative with taxpayers’ dollars and ensuring public safety to protect against criminals. We also heard Alabama parents and students would be a priority when it comes to education and improving academic achievement in state schools.
Thus, these should be the first bills that the state representatives and senators address when they convene in Montgomery in 2023.
In the past couple of sessions there were bills that addressed strengthening the criminal justice system, banning critical race theory in classrooms and bills that implemented school choice. A number of these bills were debated, but could never get a final vote to send to the governor’s desk. Lobbyists were successful in shooting them down, so we will see if these bills have better success this year.
There is also talk about what legislators will do with the $1 billion left in federal COVID-19 relief funds. There are a lot of players jockeying for the use of this money, thus it remains to be seen whether taxpayers will also receive back any of the budget surplus dollars as other states have done this past year.
As the new year begins, we will watch to see if the lawmakers push through the conservative legislation they promised to Alabama voters.
Paul DeMarco is a former member of the Alabama House of Representatives and can be found on Twitter at @Paul_DeMarco.