Speaker of the House McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) spoke to reporters Thursday about the legislative session at the halfway point.
“We have been working on cleaning up the constitution and this moves us forward with that,” McCutcheon said of a constitutional amendment by Rep. Merika Coleman (D-Birmingham), HB319.
The speaker said that this removes the “Racist language” that remains in the 1901 Constitution.
Reporters asked McCutcheon about the controversial three-bill calendar that the House passed on Tuesday: the anti-rioting bill, permitless carry of firearms, and the requirement that all students use the bathroom of the gender of their birth.
“The riot bill was on the calendar on Wednesday,” of last week McCutcheon explained.
“The leadership on both sides of the aisle at that time made the decision that, 'Why don’t we work on it next week,'” McCutcheon explained. “Address them and move forward.”
Reporters asked the Speaker about controversial legislation that passed the Senate this week banning experimental sex-change treatments for minors with feelings of gender dysphoria, SB184.
“We are going to let it go through the process,” McCutcheon said. “We will try to get in on the calendar.
“I haven’t read the Senate bill yet. Both bills [the Senate and House versions] are in Judiciary and the Judiciary committee is looking at that.”
McCutcheon was asked by reporters whether or not controversial legislation that has passed the Senate legalizing the possession of fentanyl test trips would pass the House of Representatives.
“I don’t know yet,” McCutcheon said. “It is hard for me to say yea or nay. We will just have to look at the members and see.”
“That drug has been one of discussion,” McCutcheon said. “We have had deaths occur because of that drug, illegal street sales as well as tainting other drugs.”
The House passed 24 non-controversial bills on Thursday.
“We are working through the calendar,” McCutcheon said. “We had a good day today.”
McCutcheon said that the education budget will be in committee in the House next week.
The Senate passed the state general fund budget on Thursday.
“The [House] General Fund Committee will start a deep dive on that,” McCutcheon said.
The Speaker said that next week will be another three legislative day week and that the legislature will take its spring break on the week of March 21.
Reporters asked when will the last day of the session be, sine die.
“We have too much work to do, we are not thinking about sine die,” McCutcheon said.
Reporters asked the Speaker about whether the House would support a two-year delay in implementation of the controversial Alabama Literacy Act which passed the Senate this week or a one-year postponement as Gov. Kay Ivey (R) and House Education Policy Chairwoman Terri Collins (R-Decatur) are advocating.
“As far as the membership, they are in a wait and see mode,” McCutcheon said. “What we are doing is producing good results. The training and implementation of the program will start immediately.”
The legislature held a joint session of the House and Senate on Thursday as part of Military Appreciation Day in the State Capitol to honor the United States military and the thousands of Alabamians who are serving in the armed forces. Gen. Donnie Walker, an Alabama native presently assigned to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, addressed both Houses of the Legislature and then met with Gov. Kay Ivey.
1819 News asked: Did it feel surreal to be having Military Appreciation Day today while the largest war in Europe in 77 years was being fought in Ukraine?
“It is a tragedy that we have war at all,” McCutcheon said. “We have done this in the midst of other conflicts around the world. War is a reality that we have to face and thank God that we have men and women who are willing to serve.”
McCutcheon is not seeking re-election.
Thursday was day 15 of the 2022 Alabama regular legislative session. The session is now at its midway point.
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