January 2023 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

The 2023 regular session of the Alabama Legislature doesn’t begin until March, but the organizational session has taken place, with leadership elected for the next four years in the House and Senate. And after Governor Ivey’s inauguration earlier this week, she made a new appointment, naming the director for the state’s Office of Minority Affairs.

In other news, since medical cannabis was made legal in Alabama during the 2022 session, the ball has not stopped rolling on the process to make it available to patients who can benefit from it. The Alabama  Medical Cannabis Commission, the body formed to regulate medical cannabis, has now received close to 100 license applications from those hoping to be a part of the new industry in some way. 

Find more details on this and other #alpolitics news in following posts.

January 2023 Group Watch: Tweet of the Month

Jan 17
We’ve got some work ahead, but we’re up for the task. Thank you
@GovernorKayIvey for your vote of confidence. #alpolitics

January 2023 Group Watch: Gov Ivey Appoints Director of Minority Affairs

Stacia Robison, described as a small business “champion” by Gov. Kay Ivey, has been named director of the Alabama Office of Minority Affairs. Robinson comes to the post from BeneChoice Companies benefits and financial choices company. She also serves as district manager of Colonial Life Insurance. She recently sold her BNI-Business Network International franchise, which she owned for 25 years. Robinson’s expertise in business involvement includes employee benefits design and administration, as well as advertising, consulting and professional speaking. Robinson served on the Industrial Development Board of Montgomery, the Leadership Council of the NFIB, and the Alabama Small Business Commission. A native of Denver, Robinson served seven years in the Air Force as a communications-computer officer, and completed her master’s in counseling and human development at Troy University in Montgomery. 

January 2023 Group Watch: House Officially Elects Speaker; Senate Re-elects Pro Tem

Alabama lawmakers elected leaders for the new four-year term during a recent organizational session. There were no surprises as the House of Representatives picked Rep. Nathaniel Ledbetter, a Republican from Rainsville, as the new speaker.The Senate re-elected Sen. Greg Reed, Republican from Jasper, as president pro tem, the top position in the chamber. Ledbetter was first elected to the Legislature in 2014 and had been majority leader since 2017. Ledbetter worked for more than 30 years for Sand Mountain Electric Cooperative. He and his wife are the former owners of the Mountain Valley News in Rainsville. He is also a former mayor and city council member in Rainsville. The new speaker is committed to education, jobs and economic development, mental health and access to high-speed internet in rural areas. He also wants to improve the adoption process. Sen. Reed was re-elected pro tem on a unanimous 35-0 vote. He has been pro tem since 2021 when former Sen. Del Marsh stepped aside from the post.

January 2023 Group Watch: Bill to Give Tax Rebates Expected This Session

Legislative leaders on the Republican side say that legislation to give Alabamians a tax rebate will be debated during regular session. State government is enjoying a budget surplus, and Republicans believe the best way to use the money is to give some of it back to the tax payers who dutifully paid it to the state; the rebates could be a couple hundred dollars each. Read more here. 

January 2023 Group Watch: House & Senate Committee Assignments Made

Last week, leadership in the Alabama House and Senate announced which members would be serving on which committees. The full list for the Senate can be found here; the House list is here. Note that a rule was changed to allow some Senate committees to contain more members than in the past. 

January 2023 Group Watch: Legislative Leadership Outlines Areas of Focus for Session

The newly elected Speaker of the House Rep. Nathaniel Ledbetter and other leaders laid out some of the issues they’ll tackle in the upcoming regular session. Stopping the stream of fentanyl, and the deaths it leaves in its wake, is a priority, as is making adoption easier. Read more here.

January 2023 Group Watch: Medical Cannabis Industry Continues Progress

The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission announced it had received more than 90 applications for medical cannabis business licenses. The commission received 38 applications for integrated facility licenses, 18 applications returned for dispensary licenses and 12 applications for a processor license. In addition, 12 applications were received for cultivator license, 11 applications for secure transport and 3 state testing laboratory applications. The review, evaluation and scoring of applications will serve as the basis of the Commission’s decision regarding the award of licenses. The Commission is expected to award licenses in each category at its June 12, 2023 meeting. Once business licenses have been issued, physicians may begin the certification process to recommend medical cannabis to qualified patients.

January 2023 Group Watch: Gov Ivey Making Education Her “No. 1 Focus”

In her inauguration speech, Governor Kay Ivey said that improving the quality of education available to Alabama’s students was the “No. 1 focus” of her second term. She pointed to parental rights and increase parental involvement as major points in her plan. Read more here.

January 2023 Group Watch: AL Congressmen Heading Key Committees

U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers will lead the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee. He will be the first congressperson from Alabama to chair the committee. In a press release, Rogers said our nation faces unprecedented threats from China, Russia, North Korea and Iran. In order to deter theses threats, Rogers feels that our military must focus on lethality and capability. He said over the next two years, the committee will provide our warfighters with the resources and weapons they need to deter and if necessary, defeat any adversary anywhere in the world. U.S. Rep Robert Aderholt has been tapped to head the Labor, Health and Human Services & Education Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, which puts him in charge of the largest non-defense budget within the federal budget. He voiced his appreciation for the appointment and voiced his commitment to oversight and fiscal responsibility, saying, “The new Republican majority in the House has made a commitment to the American people to get government spending under control.
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