MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Alabama’s legislative session wrapped up late Thursday with some controversial bills passing in the final hours.
“We have really had a good session,” Speaker Mac McCutcheon, R-Monrovia, said.
Democrats say otherwise.
“Too much time was spent this session in passing what I call senseless legislation,” Rep. Adline Clark, D-Mobile, said.
Both parties say passing record-high Education and General Fund Budgets was a highlight, but for different reasons.
“Things that were suddenly made possible because of strong assistance from the Biden administration,” Rep. Barbara Drummond, D-Mobile, said.
“The progress we made was not necessarily because of the federal dollars but because of some long-range planning that we had done over the years,” McCutcheon said.
But hot-button issues took center stage on the final day. Lawmakers passed a bill banning medical treatments for transgender youth, and another barring them from using public school bathrooms aligned with their identity.
“It seemed like there was a bigger push from the public on that issue this year,” McCutcheon said.
Gov. Kay Ivey signed those bills into law Friday.
The ACLU and other legal groups have already announced plans to file lawsuits.
“There are organizations out there that will be filing litigation against these particular bills. I think they’ll be successful,” Rep. Anthony Daniels, D- Huntsville, said.
While this session ends, a special session to allocate federal American Rescue Plan Act money could be coming. McCutcheon says details on those dollars aren’t confirmed, but once they are, a session could happen before the fall.
“If that’s the case and we do have dollars available, is a special session possible? Yes. Have we set a date or is it certain? No,” McCutcheon said.
While those transgender bills did pass, another controversial bill that would ban “divisive concepts” in classrooms did not get a vote in the Senate.