Legislators light up chamber meeting

Published 5:06 pm Wednesday, June 29, 2011

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Shelby County’s legislators said they are still exhausted from a “historic” legislative session, and agreed setting the state’s general fund and education budgets were among the hardest things they have done as they spoke to members of the Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce June 29.

District 15 state Sen. Slade Blackwell, R-Birmingham, said he was thankful to the county’s more seasoned legislators for assisting him during his first session, and said he was glad to see his child safety bill signed into law.

“Before this bill, residential elevators didn’t have to be inspected,” Blackwell said. “Now they have to be inspected once just to make sure nobody gets hurt.”

State Rep. Greg Canfield, R-Vestavia Hills, said he was pleased to see the rolling reserve act signed into law, which gives “stability” to how the state budgets for education, he said.

Canfield also said he was glad to see the state regulate the dumping of coal ash in Alabama.

State Rep. Mike Hill, R-Columbiana, said redrawing the state’s legislative districts will be a major issue for Shelby County in the next few years.

“Shelby County is a high-growth area,” Hill said. “I hope to be able to pick up one more senator or one more representative before the next election.”

Mary Sue McClurkin, a state representative from Indian Springs, said she was happy to see some bills pass, but was disappointed some did not.

“We passed a bill that was important to me that will allow schools to make some adjustments in their days in the case of disasters,” McClurkin said, noting she was disappointed the clean air act and a bill to streamline the hospital certificate of need process did not pass.

Sen. Jabo Waggoner, R-Birmingham, said it was “a lot more fun and productive” to have a Republican majority for the first time in his 21-years as a legislator.

Rep. Kurt Wallace, R-Maplesville, said he worked to get an item on next year’s ballot allowing voters to decide whether to allow secret-ballot voting in business settings.

“I firmly believe everyone should have the right to vote without being harassed or intimidated,” Wallace said.

State Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, said two of his bills focused on tort reform and reforming the state’s indigent defense system, which he said was costing the state “a lot of money.”

“Shelby County had the most successful delegation this session,” Ward said. “We’ve got a lot to look forward to in the next three years.”

State Rep. April Weaver, R-Brierfield, said she was glad to see her bill aimed at giving small businesses and their employees a tax break signed into law.

“You always see big tax incentives for big corporations. We wanted to do something to help the small businesses,” Weaver said.