2016 Special Session Ends

By Mimi Penhale, Legislative Director

This Fall has been busy for the Legislative Delegation. The 2016 Special Session ended on September 7th, which means that the legislators are back in the district working with constituents.

Special Session was dominated by two major bills; a Lottery Proposal for Alabama and bills that addresses the BP Oil Spill Settlement money. After weeks of much debate, both lottery proposals missed the deadline to make the November Election Ballot. Following that deadline, there was some discussion of having a Special Election just to address a possible statewide Lottery vote, but the measures failed. There is a chance that the Lottery Proposals will be brought up again during the 2017 Regular Session, but, as of now, they are dead.

The Legislature did manage to pass a bill that would appropriate the BP Settlement money, during the Special Session. This was another hotly debated topic, that took weeks of committee meetings and arguments from multiple sides, before a compromise was reached that gained enough support to pass the House and Senate. In the end, money from the settlement was allocated to pay debts, a portion was given to Medicaid to cover the 2017 shortfall, and to provide funding for road projects in our gulf counties, Mobile and Baldwin.

The Legislature passed out 14 Amendments during Regular and Special Session that we will see on the November ballot. These Amendments cover a variety of issues including, local legislation, the makeup of the Auburn Board of Trustees, state parks’ revenue, removing words and phrases in the Alabama Constitution that are no longer commonly used, and a measure that would change the current impeachment process for State Officials in Alabama. Make sure you take the time to learn what each Amendment does before you go vote in the General Election on November 8th. 

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