Words by Matt Woods | Image by Ryan McGill
Hello. I’m Matt Woods. Last year, the people of District 13 entrusted me the honor of representing them in the Alabama State House. During the campaign, I said that I would do my best to represent the people of Walker County and be a resource related to what is happening in Montgomery. To that end, I hope to provide regular updates during the 2023 legislative session so people can follow along with the major items being considered by our state government.
This year, legislative activity began with a special session call by Governor Kay Ivey. The focus of the special session was to allocate more than $1 billion in federal American Relief Plan Act (ARPA) funding and repay almost $60 million to the Alabama Trust Fund. In short, about $400 million of ARPA funding was allocated for infrastructure projects, mainly water and sewer projects in largely rural portions of Alabama. Approximately $225 million in funding will go to expand broadband internet across the state and $100 million will go to reimburse hospitals and nursing homes for eligible expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This past week we resumed the regular legislative session and had our first true week of normal legislative activity. The House wasted no time and got straight to work on several bills, including two that I co-sponsored. The first was a bill to combat the use and spread of fentanyl in Alabama by targeting traffickers and dealers of the drug with strong punishments that do not currently exist. Because the fentanyl crisis is relatively recent, our state does not currently have any mandatory minimum prison sentencing laws for manufacturing, selling, or distributing fentanyl. In a rare display of unity, the fentanyl bill passed the House 105-0. The bill will now go to the State Senate. If passed by the Senate, the bill would go to Gov. Ivey for her approval to become law.
The second bill I would like to highlight from our first week is HB101, which streamlines Alabama’s law governing adoptions. As someone who is strongly pro-life and campaigned on a pro-life platform, I think it is important that we, as a society, work not only to reduce abortions, but to also make it easier for loving families to adopt children. That is why I co-sponsored HB101. With the recent overturning of Roe vs. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court, it is likely that more newborns will be put up for adoption. If you know anyone that has adopted, or tried to adopt recently, it is an expensive and usually very slow process. This overhaul of Alabama’s adoption laws should reduce red tape and speed up adoptions while maintaining needed safeguards. I’m really proud that this bill passed the House. It now goes to the Senate.
I hope you will find these legislative summaries helpful and informative. With all the disfunction happening in Washington D.C., state governments must now step up the plate and tackle problems that our federal government seems unable to solve. I hope our state can set an example by implementing common sense, conservative polices and show the rest of the country how government is supposed to work. WL
Representative Matt Woods represents Alabama State House District 13, which covers parts of Walker County. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org