Alabama senator Chris Elliott has pre-filed a bill to fire the state’s Department of Archives and History trustees after they hosted a non-state funded LGBTQ+ history lecture.
The Republican senator first heard of the lunchtime lecture over the summer and in response, texted the Archives director Steve Murray in a message obtained by AL.com.
In the message, Elliott wrote “I’d like to see it canceled” due to “concern about this event”.
Senator Elliott went on to introduce a bill, which died in a special session devoted to redistricting, to cut $5 million from the Archives’ funding – a colossal amount that would have been almost half their budget, LGBTQ Nation reported.
Following the bill failing, Elliott has kicked off the 2024 legislative session by pre-filing a bill that would fire the Archives’ Board of Trustees, and replace them with one controlled by the governor, lieutenant governor, and the Alabama House and Senate leaders.
The lecture Elliott is opposing was funded by non-profit organisation Alabama Humanities Alliance and featured a speaker from the Invisible Histories Project – another non-profit that makes the history of LGBTQ+ life in the South of the US accessible.
Archives director Steve Murray responded to Elliott’s initial text to inform him that state money wasn’t used to fund the talk.
However, Elliott is now arguing that the Archives Board of Trustees is “self-perpetuating” – which means he is claiming that members nominate themselves and vote themselves onto the board.
Despite Elliott’s allegation, the board’s member nominations go to the Alabama Senate for confirmation, with Elliott himself voting to approve every current member.
In a recent interview, the Republication senator said: “They are one of the few, if not only, self-perpetuating boards in the state of Alabama that does not at least answer to elected officials, or by extension to the people of the state of Alabama, and simply reappoints itself over and over and over again.
“And you gotta wonder, is that good governance?”