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Alabama Democrats unveil 2024 legislative agenda

The Alabama Democratic Party released its legislative agenda last week ahead of the 2024 legislative session.

One of the party's main objectives will be to counter the Alabama Republican Party's intention to pass legislation that would create a school voucher program.

“School choice without accountability seeks to use taxpayer dollars to reduce funding for public education and increase profits for private schools,” state Rep. Barbara Drummond, D-Mobile, said at a news conference announcing the agenda. “We are firmly opposed to the voucher system.” “These systems ignore the needs of Alabama's rural children with disabilities, economically struggling families, and the common sense and critical need for standardized benchmarks to accurately measure academic performance. But it's there to reward those who can already afford private education.'' If it has to be done in public schools, it has to be done in private schools. ”

Bills to create education savings accounts have generally stalled in recent legislative sessions, but that is about to change with Gov. Kay Ivey scheduled to unveil her plans for ESAs in tonight's State of the State address.

Democrats will also resume a fight that ended at the end of last year's legislative session.

A bill that would make it a crime in some cases to help voters fill out absentee ballots made it to the finish line, but ultimately failed to reach a vote on the Senate floor.

Not all of the agenda is focused on challenging the Republican Party. Workforce development reform has bipartisan support.

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The agenda calls for increasing workforce participation by addressing child care, transportation, and housing.

Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth's 21st Century Workforce Commission released recommendations in January that included addressing many of the same points.

House Democrats are also focused on closing the health care gap, and Republican leaders have expressed interest in eventually expanding Medicare.

One of the key elements of the agenda is repealing the state's recent law that allows people to carry firearms without a permit. Democrats opposed the bill when it was passed two years ago and have continued to argue there are public safety concerns.

Other priorities include amnesty and parole reform, further gun reform including banning Glock switches and ghost guns, eliminating barriers to voting, and ending gerrymandering.

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