By Slade Blackwell
The 2013 Legislative Session is now at the halfway point. While I am pleased with what we have accomplished so far, there is still a lot of work left to do when we get back from spring break this week. In my last column, I listed some of the major milestones from the first half of session. These included the Alabama Accountability Act, government efficiency bills and the Alabama Trust Fund payback bill. However, for this month, I want to focus on what issues will come up during the second half of the session.
Women’s Health and Safety Act
The Women’s Health and Safety Act (HB57) passed out of the Senate Health Committee, of which I am a member, and will now be up on the Senate floor when the legislature returns from spring break. This bill says that if a woman chooses to have an abortion, direct physician involvement will be required and there will be mandatory standards for nursing care and post-operative follow-up visits. Because of Supreme Court rulings, it is sadly not possible to prohibit abortions altogether, but this bill will make sure women are cared for in the safest pre-and post-operative environment available.
In the next few weeks of the legislative session, I will introduce a bill that will improve the purchasing and renewal of business licenses to make it less burdensome for businesses across our state. Alabama currently has a complicated business licensing system that includes 138 different state and county business licenses that many businesses must purchase. My bill will reduce the amount of state and county business licenses that most businesses are required to purchase and create an online system in which all businesses can go to apply for, purchase and renew all applicable state and local business licenses in one place—the “Business License ONESPOT.”
The Legislature will begin work on a bill to change the state Medicaid plan when we return from spring break. The newest plan, a result of a 14-month study by the Alabama Medicaid Advisory Committee formed by Gov. Robert Bentley, will look at restructuring the current Medicaid organization and future funding. Sen. Greg Reed will introduce the bill in the Senate and Rep. Jim McClendon will introduce it in the House.
Slade Blackwell is serving his first term in the Alabama State Senate representing Jefferson and Shelby counties in District 15. For more information about Slade, visit www.sladeblackwell.com or follow him on Facebook or on Twitter @sladeblackwell
. To reach him by phone, call 205-396-1144.