MONTGOMERY — Bills to defund the Alabama Department of Archives & History (ADAH) of a $5 million appropriation appear to be dead after not being heard in House and Senate committees on Tuesday.

State Rep. Ernie Yarbrough (R-Trinity) filed legislation that would've sent the appropriation to the Department of Human Resources "to be expended to provide financial assistance to residents for costs associated with in-state adoptions." A bill by State Sen. Chris Elliott (R-Josephine) would've sent the $5 million to the University of South Alabama to be expended for the Stokes School of Marine and Environmental Sciences for facilities, renovations and research equipment. 

The impetus behind the legislation was an ADAH luncheon discussion called "Invisible No More: Alabama's LGBTQ+ History."

House Majority Leader Scott Stadthagen (R-Hartselle) told 1819 News in June the event was "alarming and disappointing." Steve Murray, the director of the ADAH, recently defended the event as a "legitimate historical inquiry."

The governor calls special sessions and their agendas in Alabama. Governor Kay Ivey called for the legislature to focus solely on redistricting in the current special session. Legislators can file bills on other topics but require two-thirds to pass instead of a simple majority under normal circumstances. The session is expected to last until Friday.

Yarbrough's bill was sent to the House State Government Committee but wasn't on Tuesday's agenda. Elliott's bill was sent to the Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee, which didn't meet on Tuesday.

Yarbrough said when asked about whether the bills were dead after not receiving a hearing on Tuesday, "[I]t would seem that is the case, yes."

"If nothing else, I hope that it prevents other agencies from doing the same until regular session," he added.

House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) said on Monday there are some other issues besides redistricting they may look at in the special session. However, an ADAH defunding bill wasn't discussed in a caucus meeting on Monday.

Other bills on topics unrelated to redistricting that did receive a hearing in the Senate Confirmations Committee on Tuesday include a supplemental appropriation for $10 million to the Alabama Department of Mental Health and allowing retired state police officers to temporarily become school resource officers or correctional officers without suspension of their retirement payments. 

The mental health appropriation didn't pass out of committee, but the school resource legislation did. 

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