Bussman Harbison Shedd Headline State of the State Luncheon
Bussman, Harbison, Shedd: Headline State of the State Luncheon
The Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce held their annual ‘State of the State’ community luncheon at All Steak Restaurant Friday.
All members of Cullman County’s Alabama state legislative delegation provided an insightful overview of the state of affairs surrounding the current activities in Montgomery.
They also shared their experienced insights and prognostications for the coming 2018 Legislative Session at the capitol.
Each of member of the delegation took turns at the podium addressing the packed house:
• Senator Paul Bussman (R) of Cullman
• Representative Randall Shedd (R) of Fairview
• Representative Corey Harbison (R) of Good Hope
• Representative Ed Henry (R) of Hartselle
The luncheon was open to the public with well over 100 elected officials, civic leaders, top business people and concerned citizens in attendance.
This Luncheon was presented by Shirley Quattlebaum – State Farm Insurance and sponsored by Weichert Realtors – Carter & Company.
Representative Randall Shedd started by expressing his excitement about attending the Luncheon with a sense of optimism about the first two weeks of the 2018 legislative session.
Next, Shedd discussed the positive news of the $1.6 billion Toyota-Mazda plant set for construction near Huntsville. He was particularly impressed with the even-handed, joint efforts displayed by Governor Kay Ivey and opposing gubernatorial candidate Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle in bringing the giant automotive operation to fruition:
“… (they) put aside politics to work together, to accomplish the goal within that project …. you just think about it, they are both running for governor, they had to work together, that’s really what politics should be about.”
Rep. Shedd was also enthusiastic about legislators’ decision to save $93 million of the British Petroleum settlement money in 2017, and how those funds can be best utilized for the good of Alabama in 2018.
Shedd pointed out that he has been named the Chairman of the new, permanent House Committee On Urban and Rural Development. He is looking forward to accomplishing the ‘Three R’s: Research, Resolutions, Rattle The Cages On Issues’.
His goal as Committee Chairman is to be effective in breaking the cycle of poverty in the impoverished areas across the state.
While not directly related to his responsibilities as Alabama’s youngest State Representative, Corey Harbison did announce that he and his wife Whitney are expected to give birth to their first child in July:
“I think that is going to change my perspective on a lot of things and probably on the way I vote on things in Montgomery.”
Harbison announced that the Speaker of the House has just appointed him to the ‘House Small Business and Commerce Committee’. That makes the third influential committee Harbison is a part of (Economic Development + Tourism).
Harbison thanked the Governor’s Office and the Cullman County Commission for their role in bringing grant funds for $250,000 to pave County Road 813 (which leads to Smith Lake Park).
At that point, Rep. Harbison fielded questions from the audience. He tackled issues on:
• The recently proposed local bill that would bring up a vote of the people on a method to repair Cullman County’s rapidly deteriorating road and bridge infrastructure.
• A local bill for a much-needed pay raise for the office of Cullman County Coroner.
• The lawsuit against 40 Alabama Sheriffs – including Matt Gentry – regarding the constitutional statute that makes jail food money the personal income/expense of the Sheriffs. Harbison believes a local bill can fix that issue; he is in discussion with the Sheriff and the Cullman County Commission to make progress in that area.
“As I walk through the Chamber door, I realize I represent 150,000 people. Those 150,000 people are all important!”
As he has done on our weekly interviews on Cullman Today, Senator Paul Bussman put his focus on the Alabama Board of Education and their questionable handling of Michael Sentance in his embarrassingly brief, barely ‘one & done’ term as State Superintendent.
For good measure, the Senator referred to the Alabama Board of Education as “incompetent.”
Bussman will be proposing moving money out of the State School Board Offices down the educational food chain to local School Boards.
Like Shedd, Senator Bussman is favorable about the current financial state of affairs in state government, particularly with the surplus from the BP money. At the same time, he warned about the likelihood of the reemergence of public officials nose deep in the public trough:
“What I am seeing right now is glazed over eyes (of legislators) saying we’ve got more money than what we had before. How can we get out hands on it.”
The Senator who has been consistently vigilant against the imbalance of funding that favors higher education at the expense of community colleges and Kindergarten through Grade 12 schools. He spent part of his address detailing the issues before citizens in this realm.
Bussman closed with a focus on Alabama’s social issues which have been largely ignored in recent legislative sessions, specifically mental illness, child malnutrition, parental drug abuse disintegrating the family unit, etc.:
“We can’t just keep shoving it under the rug and saying the teachers are going to handle it, the hospital is going to handle it, or the police are going to handle it.”
Ed Henry was unable to attend the gathering for the second year in a row.
ABOUT THE ALABAMA LEGISLATURE
The Legislature typically convenes in regular annual sessions on the first Tuesday in February. This year that date was moved up to January 9th.
The length of the regular session is limited to 30 meeting days within a period of 105 calendar days.
There are usually two meeting or “legislative” days per week, with other days devoted to committee meetings.
Special sessions of the Legislature may be called by the Governor, with the Proclamation listing the subjects which the Governor wishes considered. These sessions are limited to 12 legislative days within a 30 calendar day span.
In a regular session, bills may be enacted on any subject.
In a special session, legislation must be enacted only on those subjects which the Governor announces in his proclamation or “call.” Anything not in the “call” requires a two-thirds vote of each house to be enacted.
More more information on the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, call 256-734-0454 or write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center
Bussman Harbison Shedd Headline State of the State Luncheon
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