Monday marked the last day that Governor Ivey signed bills from the 2019 regular session and this marks the completion of perhaps one of the legislature's greatest attacks on the civil liberties and rights of Alabamians. We followed the legislature closely from the moment bills were prefiled and we worked throughout the session to ensure these bad bills were met with a strong challenge by the ACLU. We tracked over 100 bills, held 6 public hearings, and took to the halls of the State House alongside our supporters to meet with lawmakers directly. Even when the outcome wasn't what we wanted, we made sure Alabama's legislators heard from thousands of ACLU supporters across our state by e-mail, phone calls, and social media posts. 

Most notably, when the State House began to buzz with rumors that a total ban on abortion in our state would be introduced this session, we swiftly sent a warning to lawmakers that we would fight every step of the way to ensure such a law would never take effect. We testified in front of committees in the House and the Senate to personally deliver the message that abortion is a right. We told them we would sue if this bill was passed and signed by the Governor. We made a promise and we kept it. Only shortly after the abortion ban was signed into law, we filed suit to challenge this unconstitutional ban in federal district court which means the legislature and the Governor have yet again put a bill on Alabama taxpayers to defend this law.

Rather than addressing the most pressing needs in our state education system, the legislature focused passed bills to create a bible course in our public schools and imposed restrictions on free speech on college campuses. We fought back. While Alabama's prisons and jails remain under scrutiny by the Department of Justice, the legislature took up a bill that proposed amending the state constitution so people who have not been convicted of a crime could be held without bail. We fought back and we killed the bill.

We also supported legislation to amend Alabama's sex ed laws and strip inaccurate and and outdated language regarding homosexuality and the spread of sexually transmitted infections. We pushed for bills to reclassify marijuana offenses, create more accountability and transparency in government, and we worked with Planned Parenthood Southeast, Yellowhammer Fund, Southern Poverty Law Center, and grassroots advocates to uphold our rights enshrined in the Constitution. Now that the legislative season has come to an end, we will only continue this fight. 

You can stay involved by signing up for our ACLU of Alabama Volunteers Facebook group where we will hold monthly video trainings and post new opportunities to work with us. We will keep you updated with developments on the ongoing efforts to address sentencing and prisons in an impending special session later this year, and we will continue our fight to ensure abortion remains a safe, legal procedure in Alabama. Our work here isn't done and we hope you keep fighting with us.

 

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