By Rep. Danny Garrett
MONTGOMERY — We are now into the heart of the session. While the work on the budgets is ongoing, I wanted to highlight a few important stories that went mostly overlooked during a news-packed week.
On Wednesday, House leadership unveiled a five-measure package designed to expand and improve the mental health services available to Alabama citizens. Mental health affects every segment of our society, and it directly impacts important state government issues like public education, public safety, workforce development, economic expansion, public health, and others. Over the past several years, we have made major improvements to state government. Unfortunately, our mental health programs have lagged behind. However, with the bipartisan support behind this effort, I’m optimistic that we are about to make significant improvements in mental health care.
By a unanimous vote, the Alabama House on Thursday approved “Aniah’s Law,” which
would allow prosecutors and judges broader discretion in requesting and denying bail to those accused of committing violent crimes. Currently, bail may only be denied in cases of capital murder, but this legislation would extend that option of denial to violent Class A felonies such as first-degree rape, first degree robbery, first degree kidnapping, and non-capital murders. The bill is named after 19-year old student Aniah Blanchard, who was kidnapped and murdered in October. The man charged with killing Blanchard was out on bond while awaiting trial on previous kidnapping and attempted murder charges.
A couple weeks ago I wrote an op-ed defending a Senate resolution designed to bring attention to the issue of pornography addiction. This week I sponsored the same resolution in the House where it passed 67 to 18.
Locally, Senator Jabo Waggoner and I worked together to pass a resolution in support of a grant to fund the next phase of construction for the Northern Beltline. Senator Waggoner sponsored the resolution in the Senate, and I sponsored it in the House. The resolution, which passed unanimously, is in support of a $72 million grant to build 53 miles and complete the first segment of the Northern Beltline.
On a personal note, it was an honor to receive the National Federation of Independent Business “Guardian of Small Business” award. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and that is no different here in Trussville, Clay and Pinson. It is important to me that we have an economic climate that encourages small business growth. That is why I am always looking for ways to help small businesses grow.
It is an honor to serve House District 44. Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com or call me at 205-410-4637 if there is anything you wish to discuss.