Blount County’s District 11 Rep. Randall Shedd is proposing two bills to reduce the cost of state government. One was filed last week; he plans to file the second one this week.
Merging Senior Services with Public Health
HB642, filed last week, would consolidate the Alabama Department of Senior Services with the Alabama Department of Public Health. Shedd said the Department of Public Health already has offices in all 67 counties, whereas Senior Services does not. He also noted the current Commissioner of Senior Services is due to retire this summer.
“This is a perfect example of how we can do more with less. It’s also a perfect time to do it, before a replacement is named to fill the retiring commissioner’s job,” he said.
Eliminating regional councils of government
Shedd said he plans to introduce a second cost-cutting bill this week. It would eliminate regional councils of government. Currently, the state funds twelve such regional bodies in the state. Shedd said counties and cities could take half the money saved and do twice as much with it as the regional councils.
“This legislation would do away with an entire layer of government all across the state,” he said.
He said the two bills taken together will save Alabama more than $5 million annually.“I am convinced the people of Alabama will not even notice these state bureaucracies are gone as they are transitioned into other existing state or local agencies. I don’t want to see anyone lose their job, but we have to get government bureaucracy under control,” Shedd said,“and I believe we can arrange transfers as people retire during this process.”
Safeguards against gambling influence
Shedd said he has joined Rep. Danny Garrett, R-Trussville, and others to introduce legislation (HB604) to prohibit anyone associated with gambling interests from contributing to political candidates or political action committees.
“My concern about Las Vegas-style gambling in Alabama is the probability that money will flow to politicians from gambling interests, and overshadow the needed focus of people running our state in the future,” he said.
“I don’t think gambling is the long-term solution to our problems. I remind everyone of the time when people were convinced the Birmingham horse track was going to solve all financial problems. It did not solve the problems, and it did not succeed,” he said.
“Gambling legislation may or may not pass, but we need all the safeguards we can get in case it does,” he added.