A controversial bill to create a database on every student from pre-K to the workforce failed to get a favorable report in a state Senate committee. The legislation was a workforce development bill that would have required every Alabama child to have a college or career path before their high school graduation. The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee voted down the bill, House Bill 241 (HB241), on a 4-3 vote.

HB241 was sponsored by State Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur), who chairs the House Education Policy Committee.

The original 34-page bill was shortened into a 13-page substitute version.

“This is the LSA version,” Collins explained. “This is the same bill that we had earlier.

“It is a workforce development bill,” Collins said. “[By 2023] it requires that every [high school] graduate to have a college or career ready indicator, so when they graduate, they either go to college or they have a career they are ready to go to.”

She said it created a credential registry, and the state would keep records for all the credentials offered.

Collins explained that every child would be given “a benchmark” to achieve in order to be college or career ready prior to graduation. That could include an ACT score, a credential, an advanced placement course or military placement.

Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield was there to support the bill. He was joined by representatives of the Departments of Labor, Rehabilitation Services, the governor’s office, and the State Department of Education.

“They have already signed memorandums of understanding that they are working together,” Collins told the committee. “It passed unanimously in the House.”

Sen. Garlan Gudger (R-Cullman) said, “What concerns me is the data collection.”

“What age groups are you talking about? To age 20?” Gudger asked.

“From pre-K past that into their career lives,” Collins answered.

Gudger asked, “Who controls the data?”

“It is all combined in the office of statistics under the Department of Commerce,” Collins said. “They are the only ones that have access to it. They have just one employee right now, but I anticipate them adding two or three. Each group controls their own data.”

“It worries me about the security of the data,” Gudger said. “Anytime you track as many people as we are talking about tracking here that concerns me, and I am going to talk about this when it gets on the floor.”

Three Senators voted in favor of giving the bill a favorable report, four Senators, including Chairman Jimmy Holley (R-Elba) voted no, and four Senators abstained, so the bill failed and will not be considered by the Senate.

Wednesday will be day 25 of the 2022 Alabama Regular Legislative Session. There is a maximum of six legislative days left in the 2022 legislative session. The legislature is limited to 30 legislative days in a session but is not required to use all 30 of their allocated days.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email brandon.moseley@1819News.com.