Words by Matt Woods | Image by Ryan McGill
We have now passed the midway point of the legislative session. I’ll start with a few bills from previous weeks that have or will soon become law.
Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law this week the recent adoption reforms that will streamline the child adoption process in Alabama and lower the financial cost while, at the same time, provide needed safeguards and protections.
The Alabama Senate awarded final passage to the bill that requires college athletes in Alabama to compete in sports based upon their biological gender. The House had previously passed the bill, so it will now go to Governor Ivey for her signature. As a father of a high school aged daughter, I’m glad to know that in Alabama we are protecting our daughters and their sports.
Readers of my early legislative summaries will recall that my first bill has been making its way through the legislative process. The bill would allow long-time unclaimed, unused monies that currently sit in county treasurers’ offices in perpetuity to instead be directed to local road and bridge projects. The aim of my bill is to make funds available to improve roads without raising taxes. This bill passed and will soon be signed into law.
This week focused on preserving honest elections in our state. Alabama has been a model for fair elections and our actions this week will ensure that our election system remains free from corruption, hacking, tampering, and other forms of manipulation. The House gave final passage to bills that prohibit electronic voting machines from being able to connect to the internet and require voting machines to utilize paper ballots as a safeguard against electronic tampering. We also debated a bill designed to combat ballot harvesting.
Changing topics, I’ve gotten several questions lately about a new class of legal psychoactive drugs that have been popping up in stores across Alabama. Psychoactive drugs are defined as substances that affect perception, consciousness, cognition, mood, or emotions. Many people probably haven’t even noticed them yet, but they are becoming more widely available. The products include Delta-8 THC, Delta-9 THC, THC-0 and others. Currently, this new class of products can be purchased by anyone, including teenagers. This week we passed a bill that prevents these psychoactive cannabinoid products from being sold or marketed to anyone under 21 years of age.
Reflecting back on the first half of the session, I’ve been encouraged by the work that has been done. We’ve passed important legislation that will shape Alabama for years to come. There is still a lot of work to do and many bills yet to be debated. We’ll see what happens as we enter the second half of the session and time begins to wind down. Stay tuned…
Representative Matt Woods represents Alabama State House District 13, which covers parts of Walker County. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.