What seems like a layup for a supermajority Republican-led Alabama Legislature has eluded the body for the last few years.

State Rep. Ed Oliver (R-Dadeville) has introduced legislation prohibiting so-called divisive concepts in government institutions, including state-sanctioned diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs and critical race theory.

While he has had some success in the lower chamber of the State House, the Senate has proven to be a challenge for Oliver.

However, the Tallapoosa County lawmaker says the bill will be introduced by State Sen. Will Barfoot (R-Pike Road), and he expects passage early in the 2024 legislative session.

"I will tell you I will not introduce the bill in the House," he said. "Will Barfoot, Senator Barfoot will introduce it in the Senate. I've been assured and reassured by the people who tied it up last year in the Senate that it would pass. There is going to be all kinds of pressure from all sorts of places to get this bill passed in the first week or two of the legislative session."

Oliver says a ban on these programs will ultimately serve the state's public universities.

"I think it is going to be better for everybody," Oliver said. "I think it is going to help our universities. Remember, our universities are made up of a big number of people that have all sorts of ideologies, and this is a distraction for them. It is a distraction in terms of education, in terms of publicity — things they don't want to deal with."

"But they have to deal with their faculties," he continued. "And the faculties, for some reason seem to, or always have, seem to be a little left-leaning. So, this is a way the legislature can help them get control of their schools, and it is something we actually owe to the parents that kids in kindergarten through 12."

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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