After failing to pass legislation last special session that would have clawed back the $5 million in supplemental funding from the Alabama Department of History and Archives (ADAH) over its controversial LGBTQ history luncheon, State Sen. Chris Elliott (R-Josephine) plans to take a different approach in 2024 to hold the department accountable to the taxpayers.
Last Friday, during an appearance on FM Talk 106.5 in Mobile, Elliott explained how his newly pre-filed bill would change how members are appointed to the department's board.
"This legislation is different, and it's fairly innocuous," Elliott said. "It basically says that this self-perpetuating board that selects itself continuously won't be able to continue to do that. Instead, we will have elected officials — the governor, the speaker, the president pro tem of the senate and the lieutenant governor — who will select these board members so that they are actually responsible and responsive to the people. What a novel idea."
He continued, "When you have concerns expressed by elected officials about the programming that the Alabama Department of Archives and History is hosting and those concerns are unanswered or ignored, you have to wonder, hey, is this really kind of more telling about what's going on and do we need to make a change?"
Elliott pointed out that many state boards and commissions already operate on the appointment system he is proposing for ADAH.
"This is not very different at all from what we see from a host of other boards and commissions around that state," he said. "There are elected officials that do those appointments, and when the board is heading in the wrong direction according to the people of the state of Alabama who pay those taxes, there's some recourse, and that's all we're trying to do here as well."
Elliott warned of a "professional political class" that fights to maintain control regardless of who is in office or what taxpayers want and that they are the ones pushing a "radical left-wing agenda," including the "Invisible No More: Alabama's LGBTQ+ History" luncheon and concepts like DEI and CRT.
"They think they know best, and that's not the foundation of our republic. It is to be by the people, for the people and with their input," he said. "... "It really chaps me when we end up in a situation where you have unelected bureaucrats saying, 'We know better; we'll do what we want to do regardless of what the people think.'"
Elliott said he's already received support for his bill and expects the bill to pass next session.
"It's not about politics. It's about good governance and being responsible to the people that elect you. It's about being responsible to the people who send you tax money to spend. And if you don't want to be responsive and responsible to them, then what's your problem? What are you doing? What are you trying to sneak in? And that's exactly what's happening here."
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