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Alabama’s 2022 legislative session may be brief but action-packed

The leaves have changed colors, there’s finally a fall crisp in the air, and everyone’s seasonal beverages are back in rotation at their local coffeehouse. This can only mean one thing – Alabama's legislative session is around the corner!

Just like past years, the SPLC Action Fund will be heavily engaged on both offensive and defensive fronts. We’ll use this blog, our action alerts, social media and more to keep you informed about what’s happening with the Alabama Legislature. Let’s start by laying out some basics of what we expect from the 2022 legislative session, which convenes on Jan. 11 and can end no later than April 25, per the Alabama Constitution.

Since 2022 is an election year in Alabama (all legislators and state-level executive offices are on the ballot), it’s likely that this session will end before April 25, as legislators cannot fundraise while in session. Thus, they’ll be interested in dispensing with any necessary legislative business as quickly as possible so that they can get back on the campaign trail. In 2018, the last time lawmakers convened in January during an election year, the Legislature adjourned sine die on March 29.

The other aspect of an election-year session that we can be sure of is the presence of red meat issues. Legislators will sponsor bills that appeal to their electoral base and sound good in stump speeches. For the SPLC Action Fund, this means we will often find ourselves on the defensive, fighting against hyper-partisan bills that do nothing to help everyday Alabamians. Like last year, we expect to see the return of bills attacking transgender youth, protesters and voting rights. New this year, much like other advocates across the country seeing lawmakers use the term “critical race theory” as a boogeyman, we’ll stand up for inclusive education in Alabama classrooms. We’ll defend against attempts to stifle an honest and accurate teaching of history and its impact on our communities.

Along with those defensive priorities, we’ll also have some proactive legislative efforts this year – parole and criminal legal reform, codifying due process protections for K-12 students and more. We’ll discuss both our defensive and proactive work in upcoming blog posts but rest assured: Even if it’s a quick one, the 2022 legislative session will be action-packed.

If you’d like to learn more about these priorities and how to engage effectively this year, you can also join us for one of our 2022 legislative session preview events on Dec. 9 or Dec. 10. We’ll talk about each of these issue areas as well as provide tips on how to engage effectively with the process and with your individual legislators.

As always, we’re grateful for your continued support and advocacy as we head into another important legislative year. Together, we can fight for the changes necessary to make a more just Alabama.

Katie Glenn is an SPLC Action Fund policy associate in Alabama.

Photo above: The Alabama state flag. (Credit: Visions of America, LLC/Alamy Stock Photo)