By Brandon Moseley

The Alabama House of Representatives met for about 21 minutes on Thursday, the first day of the latest special session. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) called the legislature back into session to address redistricting and to appropriate money under the American Rescue Act.

The House opened the journal for members to introduce bills and to pass a joint resolution forming a committee to formally notify the governor that the Alabama House of Representatives is now in session.

The House also had to swear in a new member, former Tuscaloosa City Councilmember Cynthia Lee Almond (R) who recently won a special election to represent Tuscaloosa.

The legislature will have to consider four redistricting plans in the next week. One is for the Alabama congressional districts, the second is for the state board of education, the third is for the Alabama Senate, and the fourth is for the Alabama House of Representatives.

State Rep. Andrew Sorrell (R-Muscle Shoals) told 1819 News that the big issue is House District 74, where the draft plan has State Rep. Charlotte Meadows (R-Montgomery) district redrawn into a majority-minority district.

Sorrell said that there will be an effort to redraw the district so that Meadows is re-electable.

Republican insider and former State Representative Perry O. Hooper Jr. told 1819 News that he will be testifying on behalf of Meadows at Friday’s committee hearing on redistricting.

“A Republican can’t win that district the way it is redrawn,” Hooper said. “Reed Ingram has said that he will give up some of his people to Charlotte.

“They need to give her a chance."

The redistricting plans were prepared by the Legislative Committee on Reapportionment, which is chaired by State Sen. Jim McClendon (R-Springville) and State Rep. Chris Pringle (R-Mobile).

Sorrell represents Lauderdale County, which was divided in the plan between the Fourth Congressional District and the Fifth Congressional District. Lauderdale County is currently in the Fifth Congressional District.

“I would rather be in the Fourth Congressional District,” Sorrell told 1819 News. “I wish all of Lauderdale County was in the Fourth. It is the only way that the Shoals can all be together (Lauderdale and Colbert County), given all the growth that is happening in Huntsville.”

“I talked with the committee about the changes to my district and I like what they did,” Sorrell said of the changes in his district.

Sorrell is a 2022 candidate for State Auditor.

The legislature is being asked by citizens and legislators to address federal vaccine mandates.

State Rep. Ritchie Whorton (R-Owens Crossroads) has introduced legislation that would prohibit employers from discriminating against employees in personnel-related decisions based on immunization status. Hundreds of protestors were in Montgomery on Thursday demanding that the legislature pass the Alabama Health Freedom Act.

The legislature is under pressure to take up this issue, but it was not in the call from Gov. Ivey, so addressing it or any other issue not in the call requires a two-thirds vote by both Houses of the legislature.

Upon welcoming Almond to the House, Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) said, "We congratulate you and I know all the members will be meeting with you; but today we want to formally give you the oath of office." 

“Thank you so much for welcoming me,” Almond told the body. “I have already met so many of you. I want to thank you for welcoming me and I hope to get to know all of you real soon.”

State Rep. Artis A.J. McCampbell (D-Livingston) who also represents part of the city of Tuscaloosa, told Almond, “I have known you and worked with you for many years and I welcome you to the people’s House.”

The Alabama House of Representatives will gavel in on Friday at 9:00 am.