The Alabama Legislature will have much to consider when it gavels in next month on various topics, including gambling, education and ethics reform.

One area that got notice in 2023 but was thwarted by Democrat lawmakers was reforming the antiquated law governing the Alabama Department of Public Health and its leadership under the direction of the State Health Officer.

Despite those obstacles in 2023, State Rep. Mark Shirey (R-Mobile), a practicing optometrist, says 2024 is the time to renew the push initially pursued by State Sen. Sam Givhan (R-Huntsville) last year.

"I think it is if you can get it through the Senate," he said. "I've tried to work with Senator Givhan. I would love to sponsor that in the House. I think it is absolutely time to fix that issue. I think it is an oversight. I don't think there is any other state in the nation that does, elects or appoints their state health officer in this manner."

"I know there is no other state department that individually elects their leader, and he is a state employee and not beholden to any state officer other than himself and his private boards," Shirey continued. "So, I think it is definitely time."

Jeff Poor is the editor in chief of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.

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