MONTGOMERY - The Alabama Legislative Session began on Feb. 7. Rep. Randall Shedd, R-Fairview (Alabama House District 11, which includes portions of Blount, Cullman, Marshall and Morgan Counties), spoke about some of the issues legislators are dealing with this month.
On Tuesday Shedd and Rep. Corey Harbison, R- Good Hope co-sponsored a resolution to re-open the investigation that could lead to the impeachment of Gov. Robert Bentley. An investigation of the governor was underway last fall, until it was suspended by then state Attorney Gen. Luther Strange. Strange was subsequently appointed by Bentley to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions’ appointment as U.S. Attorney General. Strange's appointment looked suspicious to many people, leading to the new resolution.
"I did not support the Impeachment Committee the first time," said Shedd, "but with the cancellation of the investigation and Luther Strange's appointment to the Senate - that troubled me."
The resolution was put on hold shortly after it was issued. The following day, Bentley's newly-appointed AG Steve Marshall recused himself from the case, appointing former Montgomery County DA Ellen Brooks to head up the investigation. In light of so many events in such a short amount of time, Shedd says that everyone involved wants to step back briefly to make sure everything is done right.
Said Shedd, "We're going to go back and reflect on what has happened since then. We want to back up and take the weekend, and see where we are."
He was confident, though, that the investigation and possible impeachment will proceed during this spring's legislative session.
Shedd reflected, "We need to clear the dark cloud over the State Capitol."
A sunset law is a law that expires on a prescribed date unless renewed. The House voted to renew a number of these laws concerning the continuation of certain state boards, including four recommended by Shedd:
* State Board of Optometry
* State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners
* Board of Athletic Trainers
* Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.
Shedd mentioned mental health among topics that are expected to come up during this session. He did not share anything specific, but said the legislature is noting the impact of mental health issues on communities, and on the law enforcement agencies that have to respond to incidents in those communities.
Shedd stated, "We're hearing mental health mentioned in almost every conversation in Montgomery now. It is very much on the minds of legislators right now."
Shedd feels that the county tax proposal has a dim future.
"I just don't see that passing," he said. "I've talked to Chairman Walker (Kenneth Walker, Cullman County Commission), and we're committed to working together to find solutions for Cullman County; but I did not commit to vote for the tax."
Shedd has introduced two new bills to the House. Both are in preliminary stages, and he did not speak about their progress.
The first would allow elected officials to designate another person to serve on certain agencies, boards and commissions on which they serve as ex officio members. The appointed person would have on that committee the same authority as the elected official, and cannot be a convicted felon whose full rights have not yet been restored.
The second would remove the requirement that veterans applying for a distinctive silver or bronze star auto tag have to present a form DD214. As the DD214 did not come into use until 1950, World War II veterans are currently ineligible.
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