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North Alabama lawmakers recap latest legislative session in Athens

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 6:15 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - On Tuesday, Alabama lawmakers met for a legislative wrap-up at the Athens Public Library.

Representative Andy Whitt and Senator Arthur Orr spoke with voters at the June 8 event.

HUNTING LICENSE UPDATE

Speaking with WAFF 48, Rep. Whitt said he feels overall this past legislative session went well. One of the bills that he is proud of is a bill that gives disabled veterans a lifetime hunting license at a discount.

“We drafted legislation and it was signed into law to allow disabled veterans to purchase lifetime hunting licenses at a deep discount,” Rep. Whitt said.

GAMING BILL

The gaming package bill did not make it through this legislative session, but Rep. Whitt said he will continue to fight for its passage. The state representative said he feels the people should have the right to decide if they want gaming in the state or not.

”Quite frankly they deserve that right,” Representative Whitt said. “We should give them that right. It is big in my district. We live in a border town to the state of Tennessee that sells lottery tickets.”

COVID-19 LAWSUITS

Senator Arthur Orr said there were several bills he was proud of this session that got Governor Ivey’s signature. One notable bill limits people in the community from being able to sue business owners due to claims relating to contraction or exposure to COVID-19.

“It would limit the lawsuits folks may want to bring on business owners or others based on COVID grounds,” Senator Orr said. “Of course they could have that right for workers compensation type claim but for general civil liability lawsuits.”

VACCINE PASSPORTS

Additionally, Senator Orr worked on a bill banning businesses from asking for proof of a COVID-19 vaccine for service. The bill was signed by Gov. Ivey. Senator Orr said the vaccine is experimental and he feels people should have a right to their own bodies.

“The whole premise is we don’t need to have a two-tiered society,” Senator Orr said. “We have never done that in the history of this country and we certainly do not need to start now.”

SAFER ROADS

Senator Orr also sponsored a bill that he said will make driving on the road safer.

“People intoxicated with drugs outnumbers drunk driving. Those impaired by alcohol. So I sponsored a bil that would give law enforcement another tool to use roadside testing using a swab and saliva to give instant feedback if someone is intoxicated with a substance,” Senator Orr said.

ALABAMA LITERACY ACT UPDATE

He also commended Governor Ivey’s veto of a bill that would not delay the Alabama Literacy Act’s third-grade promotion policy.

“I sponsored the Literacy Bill back in 2019, and there was an attempt to delay that legislation, but it didn’t make sense to me because if you’ve got children who have been in a virtual education situation,” Senator Orr said. “They are deficient in reading. The idea that we would pass those students on. The statistics show if you cannot read by the end of the third grade you are four times less likely to learn how to read.

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