The 2020 Alabama Legislative session began Tuesday, Feb. 4, and we need to be paying attention to what our legislators are doing. Lawmakers all agree that the three big issues of the session are going to be prisons, medical marijuana and the proposal by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians for control of additional casinos and a state lottery. In 2019, more than 1,000 bills were introduced during the session, and it’s likely there will be just as many introduced this year. Which means that, other than the big three issues, there will be at least 997 issues under discussion at the State Capitol.
Often the bills that get introduced are written by a particular industry or group seeking to turn the law in their favor. This does not necessarily mean the bill is bad, but we as taxpayers and voters should be aware of who gains and who loses if a bill becomes law. We should be asking our legislators what problem they are trying to solve. If there isn’t a real problem, what’s the purpose of the “solution?”
This is not to say that our local legislators aren’t doing their best to represent their constituents fairly and honestly. There are many issues that require their attention, and they can’t be experts on all of them. They have to get input from the people who know the issues best. But they also want, and need, to hear from their hometown folks.
During the session, you can see what bills have been introduced and track their progress at the state’s website at alisondb.legislature.state.al.us. If you have the opportunity to visit the State Capitol during the session, make plans to stop by your representative’s or senator’s office and ask for an update on legislation, particularly local legislation that’s not going attract the attention of the state’s media. We’ll be watching closely, too.
If you can’t make it to Montgomery, the contact information for our delegation is below.
Stay in touch and stay informed.
Senator Jim McClendon
Senate District 11
Senator Shay Shelnutt
Senate District 17
Representative Jim Hill
House District 50
Representative Craig Lipscomb
House District 30
Representative Randy Wood
House District 36