Our first responders consist of citizens in our community who have agreed to a higher calling to hold us accountable to the laws of the land and protects us from the evil of this world. Their jobs are typically underpaid and keep them overworked. And yet, they choose to do it anyway. For that we are all grateful.
The need for them to be well-skilled, educated, and aware of the dangers around us has never been as important as it is in today. Mental health has become a larger issue, drugs are everywhere, while prison and court systems are only placing Band-Aids on much larger wounds.
We need to find new ways to revive our justice system and support the needs of our first responders.
In order for our communities to feel safe we need to address those root cause of issues that keep us from all being able to thrive. One of those areas, mental health is a particular passion of mine. Addressing mental health and its surrounding challenges has been on my agenda since serving as City Council President in Cullman. I intend to continue to address this issue at a state level.
The Alabama Legislature on Thursday passed a bill that would allow people who have been temporarily committed for mental health reasons to be kept for further care, even after the expiration of their court-ordered commitments, under certain conditions. The bill was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman, while a partner bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Randall Shedd, R-Fairview. Gudger’s was the first to get through, and went to Gov. Kay Ivey for signing with the support of both legislators, along with that of the Cullman area’s other legislators.
The recent passage of the Firefighter Cancer Benefit Act is being celebrated across Alabama and by Fire Service organizations nationally as a significant step in protecting our firefighters from the dangers they face. Increased cancers in firefighters have been recognized for years and while we work to increase prevention efforts, we know we can’t eliminate toxic exposures or erase those already experienced. (See full article on page 9)
SB246, sponsored by Senator Garlan Gudger and Representative Randall Shedd, fixes a gap in the current outpatient commitment law. Current law does not allow for a renewal of an outpatient commitment order. After 150 days the outpatient commitment ends, whether or not the person needs that order to continue. SB246 creates an option for the probate judge to renew the outpatient order for up to a year.
HB360, sponsored by Senator Garlan Gudger and Representative Phil Pettus which provides full-time certified firefighters with a supplemental cancer benefit policy.