FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 14, 2024

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Alabama Senate today voted to hold unelected boards accountable with the successful passage of two bills, the Archives & History Board Accountability Bill and the Local Library Board Accountability Bill. Senator Chris Elliott (R-Josephine) sponsored both pieces of legislation.

The Archives & History Board Accountability Bill will remove the current board members and replace them with appointees of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the Alabama House and President Pro Tempore of the State Senate.

The Local Library Board Accountability Bill clarifies the statutory provisions governing local library boards, holding board members accountable to their appointing authorities.

“State-funded institutions should reflect the will of the people of Alabama, and the current structure of some of these boards is inadequate to respond to the voice of the people,” said Senator Elliott. “Some of these boards seem more interested in promoting their own personal social agendas instead of preserving our state’s history and helping educate the kids in our communities. These bills will provide a new structure that will ensure responsiveness to Alabamians and our values. I look forward to this positive change to increase accountability for the Department of Archives & History and local library boards.”

The Alabama Department of Archives & History Board is currently made up of two members from each of Alabama’s seven congressional districts and two at large members. The board appoints members of their choosing to fill vacancies.

Local library boards are typically appointed by a county commission, city council or a combination of the two. Although local authorities appoint local library board members, there has been confusion about the governing bodies’ authority in regulating libraries and removing board members.

“These bills reflect our commitment to ensuring that state-funded institutions in Alabama truly serve the interests of Alabamians,” said Senator Steve Livingston, Senate Majority Leader. “With clearer accountability measures in place, we can ensure that taxpayer funds are used appropriately and that these institutions remain dedicated to their core missions.”

The Archives & History Board Accountability Bill and the Local Library Board Accountability Bill will need to pass the Alabama House of Representatives and be signed by Governor Kay Ivey before becoming Alabama law.