Legislators making moves

Published 11:15 am Tuesday, March 26, 2013

By SLADE BLACKWELL / Guest Columnist

As your state senator in Shelby County, I, along with my legislative colleagues, have the opportunity to make a difference in the state of Alabama. Now, after three years in the legislature, I am proud to see that our hard work is paying off.

Area Development Magazine recently ranked Alabama fourth in best states to do business, our record $19.5 billion in exports is a 9.36 percent increase since 2011 and unemployment is down to 7.1 percent with the national average at 7.8 percent.

While I am proud of what we have accomplished, there is always more we can do to advance and the 2013 legislative session is a great place to start. After a busy first month in session, we have already passed bills that will make government more efficient, help businesses, recruit jobs and save taxpayers money.

A few of the bills that the legislature has passed thus far include:

-ATF Payback — After a vote of the people on September 18, money will now be taken out of the Alabama Trust Fund to prop up the state General Fund. The bill to pay back the $437.4 million was the first bill passed in the legislature this year.

-Public Safety Consolidation — This bill consolidates all of the 20 public safety agencies in the state down to seven. The consolidation and streamlining of these agencies will end up saving the state an estimated $26-$30 million per year.

-Alabama Accountability Act — This bill will provide tax credits for families with students in consistently failing schools to attend a non-failing public or private school. It also provides waivers of state policies to school boards.

My senate colleagues and I have been working hard to ensure that we are passing smart, meaningful legislation that will move Alabama forward. A few items to look for in the coming weeks of the legislative session include Common Core Standards, historic tax credits and Second Amendment protection.

Whether it is with business, education, economic development or other issues, we must continue to work together to do what is best for Shelby County and the state. As always, please do not hesitate to call me if you ever need anything.

Slade Blackwell is a state senator representing District 15, which contains Jefferson and Shelby counties. To reach him, visit Sladeblackwell.com.