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Alabama Republican, Democrat lawmakers share goals for upcoming session

Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 10:49 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - In just five days, Alabama lawmakers will be back in Montgomery for the start of a brand new legislative session.

We wanted to talk to our lawmakers here in North Alabama to find out what they are prioritizing and the changes they hope to make for the state.

”Not only was it disgusting, but it was something that I, just very shocked to see some of the issues that have been prioritized on the other side,” House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels said.

That’s democratic House Minority leader Anthony Daniels’s take on the Standing Tall plan announced by Republicans Wednesday.

Some of the bills they plan to prioritize include a permanent ban on critical race theory and a permit-less gun bill.

“I mean it [critical race theory] doesn’t even exist. To be honest with you, racism is not taught, or anything that impacts another race is not being taught in our schools. I’ve been a teacher and I’ve been a student, so I’m not certain as to where individuals are just using something to distract the people of Alabama away from what they’re supposed to be doing as representatives,” Rep. Daniels said.

“There’s about 17,000 people that have lost their lives in the state of Alabama as a result of COVID-19 and we’re talking about permit-less carry. There’s 17 hospital closures in the state of Alabama and we’re talking about critical race theory. I mean come on,” Rep. Daniels said.

Daniels says the Republicans are wasting their time when there are far more pressing issues.

The Democrats plan to focus on better managing the pandemic, raising teacher pay, expanding broadband access, and helping struggling businesses.

“I think that anything less than a 5% educator pay raise is a waste of time. I think that it is long overdue. They deserve it. They deserve much more. The permitless carry, this is an issue that I agree with law enforcement on. This bill of permitless carry is dangerous. Giving a bad guy a gun, and letting a bad guy get access to a gun or letting someone with mental illness have access to a gun is just not good,” Rep. Daniels said.

Meanwhile, Republican Senator Arthur Orr says he plans to file a bill next week that could create a new learning retention law for math.

Similar to the Alabama Literacy Act, requiring students to be proficient in reading before moving to the fourth grade.

“There’s a little bit of unease out there about the retention aspect because it hasn’t been done before in the country. My point is, if you’re 52, you’re dead last, hiding behind the district of Columbia. My point is, you’ve got nowhere else to go so what do you have to lose,? Sen. Orr said.

Representative Daniels says instead of another retention law, state leaders should focus on increasing funding for Pre-K education.

“We’re not even fully funding Pre-K. So how is it that you have young people on waiting lists to try to get into PREK, that on the front end, if they’re educated on the highest level or have that strong foundation, we wouldn’t be worried about math or reading scores by the third grade,” Sen. Orr said.

Senator Orr also plans to file a bill that if passed would make the first $10,000 of IRAs or 401Ks not taxable, to put more money back in the pockets of retired Alabamians.

“Alabama families, like all those across the country, they’re seeing inflation eating into their income. I get particularly concerned about those on a fixed income, well who are those people? Those are primarily your retirees, who are on a fixed income, fixed check, so how can we bring them some relief?

Lawmakers will discuss these topics and much more next Tuesday.

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