MONTGOMERY, Ala. – “Show up, be on time and be informed!”
That was Gov. Kay Ivey’s message in a nutshell to dozens of newly elected members of the Alabama Legislature gathered for orientation meetings Wednesday. Ivey was the featured speaker at the second of a two-day crash course in how the State House works for the 36 new House and Senate members.
The governor encouraged lawmakers to serve their constituents and not themselves while in office.
“If there’s one thing I want you to take away from today and never lose sight of, it’s that you were elected by the people of Alabama to serve the people of Alabama – not yourselves,” she said. “You have entire communities who are relying on you to do what’s in their best interest and, believe me, they will hold you accountable.
Ivey recounted the 2019 passage of her Rebuild Alabama gas tax and infrastructure plan as an example of a difficult and substantial legislative accomplishment. She said it took teamwork between her office and the Legislature.
“The strength of a team comes from each individual member, and the strength of the individual members comes from the team,” she said, recalling the old adage. “It’s safe to say, y’all, that we have a busy session and a busy four years ahead of us, and I’m looking forward to utilizing our combined talents to overcome some of our state’s challenges and making Alabama an even better place to call home.”
Ivey specifically mentioned a few policy areas that will require legislative attention when the regular session begins in March: renewing the state’s economic development incentives laws, improving education and fixing Alabama’s troubled prison system.
“Alabama is positioned for even greater success, and a vital component of that success will be your work here in the State House. So while I’m proud of the progress we’ve made over the last five years, that doesn’t mean I’m satisfied or looking to slow down a bit.”
The orientation meetings covered the range of what new lawmakers will encounter during a legislative session, from procedure and budgets to the staff resources and security protocols.
The Legislative Services Agency hosted the meetings and organized the agenda.
“Orientation is a great way to lay the foundation of the legislative process for our new members and make them aware of the staff and services that are available to them,” LSA Director Othni Lathram said. “The participation rate was great, and the level of engagement made it clear that this is a class that is ready to contribute and get to work.”