Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Bipartisan campus event weighs in on state legislature


University of Alabama students gathered in Lloyd Hall Tuesday evening to hear two policy groups discuss legislative issues facing the state. Both sides weighed in on where the state legislature should focus during the remainder of this year’s session.

The Alabama Legislative Update was hosted by the Student Government Association and sponsored by UA College Democrats and UA College Republicans. The Alabama Policy Institute, representing the center-right, and Alabama Arise, representing the center-left, were both present.

The Alabama Policy Group was represented by Cameron Smith, vice president and general counsel, while Alabama Arise was represented by Kimble Forrister, executive director. They were joined by Sam Gerard, president of College Democrats and Caitlin Connors, president of College Republicans.

(See also “City Council votes to pause rezoning“)

“This is maybe one of the first times in American history where students really need to take notice of what’s going on in Washington and in Montgomery,” Smith said.

One point of contention was the Alabama Accountability Act, which was passed last year and allows students zoned for chronically failing schools to receive a tax credit to attend a non-public school or another non-failing public school.

“[The] Institute is supportive of the Alabama Accountability Act,” Smith said. “We don’t think that you should be relegated to a bad school based on your zip code.”

(See also “Alabama Accountability Act affects more than just 74 failing schools“)

“Those concepts of ‘your parents are going to drive you to a better school’ just aren’t really an option for the poorest kids in the poorest neighborhoods in Alabama,” Forrister said. “[In our poorest counties], you’d have to go across county lines, and how on earth are you going to get the transportation to go across county lines?”

Both groups agreed that certain issues, like reforming Alabama’s constitution, need to be addressed.

“This isn’t a game,” Smith said. “This isn’t a team sport. This isn’t us versus them. This is who shapes the future.”

(See also “Alabama’s priorities ignore real issues“)

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