canada africa partner reservation Ala. Pol reprimands male colleagues with a bill on parental leave

Ala. Pol reprimands male colleagues with a bill on parental leave

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The Alabama Senate this week passed and then killed a bill that would give public school teachers eight weeks of paid parental leave.

Senators voted 26-2 in favor of the measure on Thursday, but then declined to grant the unanimous consent needed to send the bill to a vote in the House of Representatives during the final days of the session.

Sen. Vivian Davis Figures, the bill’s sponsor, called it an example of how the predominantly male legislature is ignoring the concerns of women in the state.

“I may have to raise hell on the Senate floor,” she said. “Women are a minority in elected office everywhere, but we are not a minority as voters.”

Alabama legislative rules require unanimous agreement after the 26th legislative day to send Senate bills to the House of Representatives for a vote. The Senate passed the measure on the 27th legislative day.

Senate President Pro Tem Greg Reed objected to the bill being sent. Reed said there are questions about how much the paid leave will cost the state and school systems.

Sen. Arthur Orr, the Republican senator who chairs the education budget committee, said he wants to get cost estimates and comparisons with what other states are doing with paid leave.

According to figures, the issue goes beyond just one bill. There are four women in Alabama’s current 35-member Senate. Three are Democrats and one is a Republican.

Alabama lawmakers passed a near-total abortion ban in 2019, with no exceptions for rape. Anti-abortion language that lawmakers and voters added to the Alabama Constitution in 2018 became the basis of a court ruling this year that prompted fertility clinics to halt in vitro fertilization services. Services resumed after lawmakers passed legislation protecting providers from lawsuits.

“There have been so many bills passed that make decisions for us that you all don’t have to go through, but we do,” Figures told her male colleagues. “None of you have ever been pregnant or will become pregnant.”

Figures say she will be “back with a vengeance” next year with bills on women’s rights.