MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT) — Thursday marks the end of the 2022 Alabama regular legislative session. As the session comes to a close, members of the Alabama House Democratic Caucus said they are disappointed in the partisan nature of recent legislation.
“We’re frustrated by the fact that good-faith efforts to introduce and debate important legislation were silenced,” said House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville).
Democratic representatives criticized the legislative priorities of Alabama House Republicans. Rep. Adline Clarke (D-Mobile) called many bills “senseless,” saying they were “politically motivated” and failed to actively help Alabamians.
“Why was it so unbelievably urgent to ban critical race theory which is not even taught in Alabama’s K-12 schools,” said Clarke.
Rep. Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa) went one step further, saying he believes some legislation will do more harm than good.
“We prioritized politics over people, and good politics generally makes bad policy,” England said. “You can see we made plenty of examples of that in this last legislative session. I think there’s no doubt, you’ll have to see us come back in the future and fix a lot of the problems we created this session.”
Daniels said he expects the state to face consequences from this session. Restrictive legislation like the bill banning gender-affirming care for transgender youth may result in activist groups taking legal action against the state of Alabama.
“Some of these particular policies are a reflection of where we were, and for me, we’ve never changed,” Daniels said. “We’ve just done a good job of disguising it, so I think that’s going to stifle growth.”
Moving forward, Daniels said representatives must remember they speak for all of their constituents.
“We remain strongly committed to making sure that the people we represent have their voices heard, and they have a seat at the table,” Daniels said.
The Democratic Caucus prioritized economic growth, healthcare expansion, and education as hallmarks of their 2022 legislative agenda. Republican House members currently outnumber Democratic representatives 74 to 28, so successfully achieving significant legislative motion is difficult for the Democratic Caucus. Members have relied on bi-partisan cooperation on issues like education.
“This is a budget that’s reflective of Alabama moving it’s education system forward,” said Rep. Barbara Drummond (D-Mobile).
Increased funding allowed Democratic House members to expand programs in fields like education and mental healthcare.