Alabama House defeats bill requiring governor’s approval of emergency health rules

A bill that would have restricted the State Health Officer’s ability to issue health emergency rules failed on a procedural motion in the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

The House voted 54 to 44 to advance the legislation, sponsored by Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, to a floor vote. The bill needed about 60 votes to go to the floor. A vote tally was not immediately available early Wednesday afternoon.

The bill, a reaction to steps taken by the state in 2020 to try to bring the COVID pandemic under control, would have required the governor to approve any emergency health orders issued by the State Health Officer. The orders would not go into effect until filed with the Alabama Secretary of State.

“We are just adding a level of transparency and accountability in the reporting process there,” said Rep. Rex Reynolds, R-Huntsville.

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