Summer 2016- Around the District

By Mimi Penhale, Legislative Director

The Shelby Delegation has been busy around the district this summer. When the 2016 Regular Session ended in May, the Delegation returned home to their full time jobs and legislative work around their districts.

Most of the Shelby Delegation members have jobs other than their legislative job, so once session ends, they are back working full time at their careers. Although they are working full time, the Delegation has been busy to make sure that they are meeting the needs of the people they serve. The time away from Montgomery has been filled with meetings with constituents, community service grant presentations, legislative conferences, and catching up with city and county officials.

As we approach the end of the summer, the members of the Alabama Legislature find themselves called into a Special Session by Governor Bentley. The Special Session will revolve around a proposed lottery in Alabama and to discuss how the BP Settlement money is to be used in the state, with the ultimate goal of trying to solve the problem of an overburdened General Fund Budget. The Governor believes that the lottery could help solve the overstrained General Fund Budget in Alabama, specifically Medicaid in Alabama. Despite an increase in next years proposed funding for Medicaid, the department is still receiving $85 million less than they requested.  As of now, the shortfall means that individuals on Medicaid will have a harder time accessing health services in their area, especially in many rural areas in Alabama.

The BP Settlement money has been hotly debated topic. Legislators from all over the state have different views on how the money should be divided up. Lawmakers from south Alabama, especially Baldwin and Mobile counties, believe that more money from the settlement should come to their counties. These counties were hit the hardest by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, which resulted in loss of jobs, tourism, and food production, especially seafood, in these areas. Other lawmakers argue that restoration projects for the affected areas have already been funded by separate money, so the entire state should benefit from the settlement.

Lawmakers can agree that the General Fund Budget in Alabama has been over stretched and unless they find a new source of money, state services for constituents are going to suffer.

 

Senator Cam WardSenator Cam Ward    Senator Slade Blackwell    Senator J. T. "JABO" WaggonerSenator J. T. "JABO" Waggoner

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Director's Update

Fall 2017- In the District

By Mimi Penhale, Legislative Director

Since the 2017 Legislative Session ended back in May, our Delegation has been out and about supporting community events and schools. Shelby County cities and organizations have been busy over the past few months with farmers markets, festivals, and events to raise money for Shelby county groups. Some of the events that our Delegation members have attended and are planning to attend include: the annual CASA Roast, tours of local farms with Alabama’s Farmers’ Federation, visiting the Alabama Wildlife Center at Oak Mountain State Park, Montevallo’s Bicentennial Celebration, and the Ground Breaking of the Helena Earth Kind Rose Trials. The Delegation members are also participating in many events around the county on their own, so keep an eye out for them in your area or at your local schools.  

The fall is always a great time for the Legislators to visit schools in their district. Legislators in Alabama are given access to grant money to provide community service projects in their districts. Grants are requested by local schools, libraries, and organizations that work with our public schools. The amount of money that Legislators can access each year is limited and varies depending on revenue brought in by the state.

The grants given by our Delegation members this fall have covered a variety of needs. Some of the grants impacted students and teachers in the classroom, like technology updates and funding for educational programming. Grants outside the classroom will help cover structural updates for school facilities. Some of the organizations awarded grant money for this fall provided students access to programs and community service opportunities that they might not otherwise be able to participate in. The final grants awarded each year are a joint contribution from the Delegation to the overall winners of the Shelby County Schools’ Teacher of the Year recipients. Three teachers, who are named the overall age group winners by the Shelby County Education Foundation, are awarded grant money that can be used by the winners for classroom supplies, technology, or programs.

Providing grants for projects like these and supporting events in the district is a highlight for our Delegation each year. These are a few small ways that we can give back to the communities we serve and love. 

Shelby County Legislative Delegation (C) 2013