FAIRHOPE — Lieutenant Gov. Will Ainsworth reiterated his 2024 New Year's resolutions that included passing a school choice bill and fighting so-called woke policies during a gathering hosted by the Eastern Shore Republican on Thursday.
However, he acknowledged fulfilling those resolutions would come with some opposition.
The second-term lieutenant governor said there would be opponents of school choice and some efforts to take on "woke" policies.
However, he expected little to no opposition to legislation that would cap property tax increases that resulted from annual reappraisals.
"School choice, I think we're going to pass something," he said. "I certainly think there are going to be enemies that try to dilute it down. But we're going to pass a school choice bill. I want it as strong as it can be. Pass legislation with property taxes — I don't see any opposition to that. I would be very disappointed if we didn't pass that ... I think 100% there. Fighting woke policies, that is for sure. That is going to happen."
During the 2023 legislative session, two Democrat members, Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro) and State Sen. Rodger Smitherman (D-Birmingham), controlled more than three-quarters of the total floor time in the Alabama Senate.
That dominance of the clock in a chamber with a GOP supermajority often resulted in the untimely end of bills brought by Republican lawmakers.
Ainsworth hinted that could come to an end early in the 2024 session.
"And I'll say this: Pay attention to the session," Ainsworth added. "There will be some fireworks ... first few weeks. We're getting ready to run over some Democrats. It is going to happen. It's time."
He also predicted an effort to reform the selection of the officeholder of the State Health Officer, who heads the Alabama Department of Public Health.
"We have a health officer in Alabama, Dr. Scott Harris," he explained. "What happens is you have a board he reports to, a MASA board. And what's scary about that is you have an unelected official making decisions last time during the shutdown. And we've got to change that."
"We're going to work hard to get that done," Ainsworth said. "That will be a fight. But it needs to happen, for sure."
Jeff Poor is the editor in chief of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.
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