Governor Kay Ivey signed House Bill 163 (HB163) into law on Tuesday, officially approving the creation of the Alabama School of Healthcare Sciences in Demopolis.

The school would provide free health care education to high school students who enroll.

The bill aims to “establish an independent, state-wide, residential school for academically and professionally motivated Alabama students with educational opportunities and experience in science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine (STEMM) and in the healthcare sciences to address the chronic healthcare workforce shortage in Alabama.”

The legislation, sponsored by State Rep. Cynthia Almond (R-Tuscaloosa), had a relatively easy time through the legislative process, passing the House unanimously and the Senate with a vote of 28-3.

During the Education Trust Fund debate, State Rep. A.J. McCampbell (D-Demopolis) succeeded in adding an amendment securing $15 million for the school.

Ivey traveled to Demopolis on Tuesday to ceremonially sign the bill, joined by Mayor Woody Collins, Rob Pearson with the Alabama School of Healthcare Sciences Foundation, Almond, McCampbell, and State Sens. Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro) and Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa).

"The Alabama School of Healthcare Sciences will help more Alabama students open the door to their futures,” Ivey said. “It will bring more men and women into our health care workforce."

She added, "It will change the trajectory of rural health care in our state.”

“Let me leave y’all with this challenge today. Let’s get this school built. Let’s get this school opened in under two years. Let’s get this funded in my final budget as governor. And let’s get students from all over Alabama in the Alabama School of Healthcare Sciences. Together, I know we can make this a success that will change Alabama for the better. Thank you, again, for all y’all have done. This is our opportunity. Let’s not waste a moment. And let’s get the job done,” Ivey concluded.

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