By Brandon Moseley

Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon stands by four redistricting plans that were passed by the Alabama Legislature Wednesday.

The redistricting plans for Alabama’s seven congressional districts, eight state board of education districts, 35 State Senate districts, and 105 House of Representatives districts have been sent to the governor for her consideration.

“I feel like it is very fair,” McCutcheon said of the redistricting plans.

McCutcheon said he expects Gov. Kay Ivey to approve the plans.

“She is involved in the process,” he said. “She has worked with us every step of the way.”

The Alabama Democratic Conference and Alabama Black Legislative Caucus have both sued the state of Alabama over redistricting in the past – often with great success; and lawsuits appear to be likely this time around as well. McCutcheon was asked about that possibility.

“I am hopeful,” McCutcheon said of the prospects for this redistricting. “We tried to follow everything we could, according to the closest letter of the law.”

McCutcheon said that the legislature “yielded to legal counsel” on several points on the redistricting.

One Republican-controlled district was changed to a majority-minority district by the redistricting plan even though the incumbent, State Rep. Charlotte Meadows, was running for reelection. Meadows introduced her own redistricting plan preserving her district much like it is now. That substitute was rejected by the House.

1819 News asked, “Did the Charlotte Meadows’ situation threaten to overturn the redistricting in the Caucus?”

“No, it didn’t,” McCutcheon said. “We had debate about several different districts in the majority caucus. We tried to be fair with all of the districts.”

McCutcheon lamented the lack of time that the legislature was given to do redistricting due to the delay in getting the data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

“It was up to the federal government to get the numbers to us,” McCutcheon said. “We just didn’t have the time that we needed to look at it.”

The legislature is returning on Thursday for a sixth legislative day to address vaccine mandates. SB 9 and SB 15 are compromise bills that the legislature has crafted after earlier bills, such as SB 13 were rejected due to opposition from the business community.

"I've said from day one that I've felt like that some of the bills we had to work in regards to the vaccine mandate, some of the bills we were working on were not something that could have been helpful," McCutcheon said. "They were just not good pieces of legislation."

Vaccine mandate bills were not in the Governor’s call for the special session.

“The public outcry has been enormous,” McCutcheon said. “As a representative, I would not be doing my job if I ignored that.”

McCutcheon said that the bills are not finished products yet.

“We’re going to have to continue to work on the bills and we’ll be working on bills on the floor,” McCutcheon said. “But at the end of the day, I think there’s votes in there to pass them.”

1819 News asked, “There has been a lot of momentum towards constitutional carry. The bill came out of the Homeland Security Committee last year. Is this the year that we get constitutional carry?

“I think the constitutional carry is something that will come up in the regular session,” McCutcheon said.

The Speaker said that the legislature has been working to clean up the permit issue and then pass the lifetime permit so now they have time to pass permit-less carry for in-state residents.

“You will see some movement on that piece of legislation,” McCutcheon said.

State Rep. Andrew Sorrell (R-Muscle Shoals) is carrying a constitutional carry bill in the legislature next session. Sorrell showed 1819 News where McCutcheon has signed on as the 35th cosponsor of that bill this week.

McCutcheon is not running for another term in the legislature.