Arise legislative update: March 25, 2024

While the Alabama Legislature is on spring break this week, Arise’s Akiesha Anderson takes some time to update everyone on what’s happened recently and what’s on the horizon when lawmakers return next week. Akiesha also talks about our upcoming Legislative Day, scheduled for Tuesday, April 2.

Full video transcript

Hi there. Akiesha Anderson here, policy and advocacy director for Alabama Arise, and I am excited to to be here today to give you another legislative update.

So to start this week, the Legislature is on a spring break, so — yay — we get a bit of a reprieve from some of the things that we have been seeing this session that just have not been ideal for, you know, us and the people that we are working for, including you and yourself.

And so some of the things that happened last week that were a bit disappointing do include the fact that SB 1, which is the piece of legislation that would make it harder for people to help others voting absentee, that bill was signed into law by the governor, and so was SB 129, which is the piece of legislation that was designed to basically get rid of diversity, equity and inclusion departments on college campuses and in other state-funded entities. And so those pieces of legislation were signed into law.

Also disappointing last week was the fact that HB 32, which was the felony murder rule legislation introduced by Rep. Chris England, that piece of legislation did die in committee last week. So that means that that piece of legislation  would not move any further this legislative session. And so hopefully that’s something that we can come back to fight for again next legislative session, but it is done for this session.

Some other things that happened last week were a few pieces of bad legislation were introduced, and a lot of new pieces of legislation were introduced. So we’re still combing through a lot of the bills that were introduced last week. We’re still trying to get a grasp of what many of them do, which ones we want to bring to your attention, and we will definitely have more updates for you in the coming weeks.

But two bills that I do want to put on your radar are SB 231 and SB 232. These are two bills that we are extremely concerned about at Alabama Arise. And so SB 231, if passed, would make it harder for companies to unionize. So what this piece of legislation could do is it could penalize companies for voluntarily recognizing employers that decide to unionize. And so that is something that we are extremely concerned about. And SB 232, if passed, could provide people with access to a health insurance plan that we believe would be a “junk” insurance plan. And we refer to this as a junk insurance plan because we believe that people would be paying premiums in exchange for health insurance, only to find out when they get to the doctor or wherever medical entity that they end up at that their insurance does not cover much of what it is that they would expect to be covered in other insurance plans. And so those are two pieces of legislation that we are extremely concerned about that we did see come up last week.

Some other things that happened last week were that HB 309, which is a bill to give state employees parental leave, passed out the House. It also passed out of committee in the House, and so we are excited that that bill is moving. It hopefully will come up in the Senate as early as next week after they are back from their spring break. We also did have some really good conversations last week, and so did some of our partner organizations — Alabama Voices, SPLC and others — about Summer EBT, so we are hopeful that our budget chairs will appropriate about $15 million so that Alabama can participate in Summer EBT for summer 2025. And so those are some conversations that we have begun having that we are hopeful we can continue having and that will be fruitful.

But then also last week, we noticed that not much happened with gambling, and so that is something that we are monitoring. Although we do not have a position on gambling, we do know that a lot of legislators have put their faith in this legislation passing in in terms of whether or not they believe other budget requests can be fulfilled or can be appropriated as a result of gaming and what happens there. And so we are monitoring just to see what happens with gaming just to see if that impacts any of our legislative asks as well. And so that is pretty much in a nutshell what has happened over the last week.

Since the Legislature again is on spring break this week, there isn’t much happening this week. You all will receive some action alerts from us. We hope that you can reach out to your legislators if you receive one.

But other than that, the only other thing that I want to put on your radar is that today, March 25, is the last day to register for our upcoming advocacy day. And so our advocacy day is next Tuesday, April 2, from 10 a.m. until the early afternoon, and so we really hope that you can join us in Montgomery at the State House for this event.

We are excited about you joining us to talk to legislators about Medicaid expansion. Public transportation, Summer EBT and other workers’ rights issues are things that might be on the radar, and so we definitely hope that you can join us. Do know again that today is the deadline to register, so if you have not already, please visit our website to go ahead and register for our advocacy day. We do need a head count so we know how many people we need to provide lunch for, etc. And there is a space limitation in the room, and so again if you’re coming, please register. But also if you have any questions about our advocacy day, please do not hesitate to reach out to our organizing director. That’s Pres Harris, and her email address is

I look forward to hopefully seeing you next week, and I will be back to give you a legislative update in the coming weeks. Take care.