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A new Alabama State House security preclearance policy for registered lobbyists and state agency heads will begin during the 2023 legislative session.

The Alabama Legislative Council approved the policy in September to create a new security entrance process in the State House for lobbyists, agency heads and legislative liaisons. 

"This is kind of like the TSA pre-check process that you see sometimes in airport systems," Jim Entrekin, Legislative Services Agency General Counsel, told members of the Alabama Legislative Council in September. "We have a program ready to be implemented with this council's approval and this council's blessing to allow expedited access to agency heads, to legislative liaisons of government agencies, and to registered lobbyists to be able to get through the doors a little bit faster in an expedited process during peak times [like] legislative committee days, legislative session days upon going through an ALEA criminal background check and going through the registration process that allows them to have that expedited access and to relieve some of the congestion and the traffic in the front door."

Members of the general public must go through security and a metal detector to visit the State House.

According to the registration form to apply for the program, persons approved for State House preclearance access are "generally permitted to bypass security screenings upon entry into the State House from the Washington Avenue entrance. Preclearance access includes standard or small-sized briefcases, purses, bags or other items in the possession of the individual authorized with preclearance access. However, individuals with preclearance access may be required at any time to submit to a security screening of their person or their belongings/property prior to entry or while in the building or on the premises."

Entrekin told 1819 News that the new preclearance access policy only applies during legislative sessions at this time. 

Individuals will not be considered for preclearance until a copy of their background check has been received from ALEA. Preclearance privileges can be revoked at any time, according to Entrekin.

Entrekin told 1819 News this week that "we have had significant interest and applications for the preclearance programs" but declined to give an estimate of the number of applicants "because that kind of info falls under building security protections."

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

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