Jails, budget and schools major legislative issues for 2012

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Several local state legislators said balancing Alabama’s budget, decreasing overcrowding in the state’s prisons and bringing more stringent regulations to abortion clinics are among their biggest issues for the upcoming legislative session.

Ward

The legislators’ comments came a week before the 2012 Alabama legislative session was set to begin in Montgomery.

Blackwell

State Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin said she is looking to pass a bill banning smoking in most public places across the state, and said she would like to see stronger regulations brought against abortion clinics.

McClurkin

McClurkin said the smoking ban would also outlaw smoking within 25 feet of a public place, but said the bill would include exemptions for establishments such as cigar bars.

“Secondhand smoke is a deadly thing. We shouldn’t have to breathe someone else’s poison,” McClurkin said. “There are so many cities that already have similar smoking bans.”

McClurkin also said she would like to see the Alabama Department of Health perform regular reviews of abortion clinics in the state, and said abortion clinics should be required to upgrade their sonogram equipment to show expectant mothers images of their babies before an abortion is performed.