The Alabama Policy Institute's 2024 BluePrint for Alabama outlines 30 pressing issues for lawmakers to consider to enhance free markets, limit government and build strong families. The BluePrint breaks down the issues with explanations and possible solutions for public policy.
Many of the concerns came from the COVID pandemic and have been discussed previously. API president and CEO Stephanie Holden Smith told 1819 News that some of those issues, such as state health officer appointment reform, emergency powers of the governor and health freedom, should be priorities.
"We want to make sure that the governmental reaction that happened during COVID cannot happen again," Holden Smith said. "I think when COVID happened, people were unaware of the sheer power of the emergency powers and the power and the appointment and authority of the state health officer."
Holden Smith said the policy issues are not personal to those sitting in the state health officer and governor positions. She said she hopes lawmakers realize it's not personal and getting past the politics of it will mean more traction for change.
"I think it hasn't happened yet because it feels personal," she explained. "And then secondarily, I think it hasn't occurred because the powers that be in the medical community like it the way it is. They have a level of accountability for the health officer and basically, unwieldy power over the state that API feels like is not only unconstitutional but also an imbalance of power."
The reform of the Certificate of Need program is another example Holden Smith gave of the power pull in Alabama's medical business and another topic in API's BluePrint.
Some of the social issues, Holden Smith believes, will get more attention this year due to national attention. Those topics include prohibiting sexually explicit performances in public and protecting minors from age-inappropriate library materials.
"Alabama, frankly is following behind Florida and Virginia and other places in reacting to social contagions and social issues," Holden Smith said. "And secondarily, I think since it's the second year of the legislative quadrennium so, some of those issues are red meat issues and those red meat issues are usually addressed in the first or second year of the quadrennium before everybody gets to re-election mode."
Holden Smith said API is seeking out bipartisan and non-partisan ideas for all issues impacting all Alabamians.
"A lot of times having an attitude of bipartisanship or non-partisanship helps move the ball forward quicker on some issues instead of looking at it as it is a Republican or Democratic issue," she added. "If you can get with people ahead of time and not have it as an 'us versus them' either way, it makes for a healthier process and that's one of the roles that API can play."
Other topics outlined are educational freedom, resisting the expansion of gambling, occupational licensing reform, ABC Board privatization, home equity theft, a cap on property tax increases, state budgetary reform, open records reform, election integrity, tax reform, expansion of Alabama's public sector payroll reduction ban, resisting Medicaid expansion, loosening home-based business restrictions, removing barriers for minor work authorization, increasing the age of majority to consent to medical treatment, abortion-inducing drug restrictions, health care price transparency, creating a state childcare tax credit, ending DEI programs at public higher education institutions, internet protection of minors, protecting babies in utero from legalized marijuana education transparency, allowing chaplains in public schools and creating a pregnancy resource center tax credit.
Read the full BluePrint online.
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