Alabama Statehouse to loosen COVID-19 restrictions
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama’s legislature is expected to return to the statehouse before the end of this month for a special session, this time with fewer COVID restrictions.
“They always thought that we closed the building down, we never closed the building down under the old protocols,” said the secretary of the senate, Pat Harris.
During the last session, the public was restricted from going to the house or senate floor without an appointment. Legislators were masked and spread out into multiple rooms in order to be socially distant.
This fall, all 35 senators will be back in their chamber seats and the session will be open to the public.
“I think the members want the additional access,” Harris said. “I think that’s why they have been responsible and have gotten vaccines. I don’t know if all of them have gotten the vaccine but a lot of them have.”
However, with there being 105 members in the house their COVID guidelines remain unclear.
“The house gallery is still in question as to whether it’ll be open to the public, it could be a case of where we have to put members back up here again,” said Clay Redden, the public information officer for the house of representatives.
There are rooms on the second floor of the statehouse building open for the public to watch House sessions. Redden says they are ready to have a sense of normalcy again.
“We want the public back, we want the people of Alabama to come in here and be able to sit down and watch the house of representative in action, that’s part of the democratic process,” said Redden.
A special session could be called as early as Sept. 27 to address the state’s prisons. The governor must also call a special session on redistricting before the end of the year.
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