Our Summary of the 2023 Legislative Session

Over the course of the session, we have tracked more than 140 bills concerning the rights and civil liberties of Alabamians.

The 2023 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature has concluded, and the ACLU of Alabama team spent the session advocating to advance and safeguard the civil rights and liberties of all Alabamians! 

Over the course of the session, the ACLU of Alabama has closely tracked more than 140 bills concerning civil liberties and our team has worked with lawmakers, the media, and our coalition partners to communicate our priorities and educate on the impact we believe these bills can have. We know this is important to you; so far in 2023, the Alabama Legislation and Advocacy Hub is the most visited page on our website.   

Most notably, the ACLU of Alabama has been a leader in the fight to stop House Bill 209, a dangerous bill that would criminalize providing assistance to absentee voters and harm the tens of thousands of lawfully registered and eligible voters in this state who rely on assistance in receiving absentee ballot applications or absentee ballots. The ACLU of Alabama is committed to mitigating voter suppression by ensuring access to the ballot and we will fight for every Alabamian to cast their vote and have their vote counted.  

This session, we saw a significant win for Alabamians’ personal privacy with Senate Bill 59 - the Personal Privacy Protection Act. This bill prohibits a public agency from requiring any person or nonprofit organization to provide a public agency with personal information about their membership list. This First Amendment safeguards our right to protect this information and Alabamians’ right to align with organizations representing their values and priorities.  

For our defensive agenda, we fought a range of bad bills that threatened LGBTQ+ rights, public safety, and academic freedom. From House Bill 7, the anti-”divisive concepts” bill that would prohibit discussing race, class, sexuality, and national origin in class to House Bill 354 – an extension of Alabama’s “Don’t Say Gay” law up to 8th grade and even in some cases censoring discussions in high schools. We saw more “copycat” legislation like House Bill 401, the drag ban, and House Bill 405, referred to by the sponsor as the “What is A Woman” Act. Thankfully, all these bills were killed during the session but it’s clear that the efforts to strip away the rights of LGBTQ+ Alabamians and the rights of all to learn an uncensored and accurate historical education is not over. The Legislature sent to Governor Ivey House Bill 261 which extended the trans athlete ban to colleges, another shameful setback for our state by targeting trans students. 

As our prison crisis not only looms but worsens by the day, the Legislature unfortunately is failing to our address our criminal legal system with reforms to increase oversight and accountability of the Alabama parole board, changes which House Bill 16 proposed. Even as the State has fallen under deserved criticism of its execution protocols, the Legislature missed the opportunity to ensure its 2017 judicial override law would apply retroactively and to ensure a unanimous jury be necessary to even sentence anyone to the death penalty, both of which could have been achieved with House Bill 14.  

The ACLU of Alabama is always monitoring the most significant threats to the civil rights and liberties of ALL Alabamians, especially bad bills that worsen voter access, LGBTQ+ rights, public safety, and free speech. This year was no different. Thanks to people like you, we saw an outpouring of support through organized protests, public hearings, and legislative trainings.   

At the top of the legislative session, we convened in Montgomery for our Werk the Lege advocacy training, and we knew then there would be a long road ahead. Our work is driven by the support of all of you who remained engaged and kept pushing, fighting, and advocating right alongside us. At the ACLU of Alabama, we believe that it requires the work of us all to create a better and safer Alabama that values the rights of ALL and we will continue to build toward a future where our Legislature reflects these values too. 

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