The Greater Birmingham Young Republicans (GBYR) met on Thursday in Vestavia Hills to hear State Representative Susan Dubose discuss legislation being considered by the Alabama Legislature during the ongoing 2023 Alabama Regular Legislative Session.
GBYR President Stephanie Petelos said that Dubose is a first-term member of the Alabama House and is the former head of the North Shelby County Republican Women, which meets monthly to full meetings at a country club.
It was announced at the meeting that a Shelby County Young Republicans chapter is being organized.
“I am excited about the Shelby County chapter,” Dubose said. “I represent District 45, which includes parts of Jefferson, Shelby, and St. Clair Counties.’
Dubose said the legislation to ban holding a cell phone while driving, essentially requiring hands-free devices, is likely dead for the session.
“That was tabled,” Dubose said. “There were problems with that bill. It got too much overreach for me. I don’t think it is coming back.”
“I passed my first bill out of committee,” Dubose said. “It is a women’s sports protection bill. It is to protect women college athletes.”
“April Weaver is running it through the Senate so it could become law,” Dubose said. “The attorney general really wants this passed.”
“I am working on an age of majority law,” Dubose said.
“14-year-olds are allowed to make medical decisions,” Dubose explained, saying that the age limit should be raised and that parents should be able to have the final say on their children’s medical decisions.
“I would like to eliminate the grocery tax,” Dubose said. “Anthony Daniels is for it.”
Dubose said, “It is not an exact loss.” Dubose explained that when you give that four percent back to the people, they are going to spend it on other things we collect sales taxes on. “I am a big believer in supply-side economics that Reagan did.”
“One of the votes that we had, Vestavia Hills came to our county delegation,” Dubose said. “They wanted to raise their ad valorem taxes by 9.8 mills. They are very proud of their school system there. Many people move to Vestavia for the schools. Our entire Jefferson County Delegation voted yes unanimously.”
Dubose told Alabama Today, “Regarding Vestavia Hills, the Vestavia Hills city council unanimously supports letting their residents vote on the 9.8% increase in ad valorem tax. Our Jefferson County House of Representatives delegation voted unanimously by voice vote to move the bill to the floor of the House, where it passed. I believe the people of Vestavia Hills should have a right to vote and make decisions for their own community. Vestavia Hills has a reputation for excellent schools. As a legislative body, we have given the residents the opportunity for a yes or no vote on the property tax increase.”
“Another vote where I got real criticism for was the adoption bill,” Dubose said.
Dubose said the criticism was for voting down an amendment to the bill that would have blocked any vaccine requirements for adoptive or foster parents.
“That should be a personal choice, but that amendment came up at the last minute,” Dubose said.
The Senate did add a vaccination amendment when that legislation passed on Thursday. The House will consider Senate changes to the bill as soon as Tuesday.
“I do not believe in COVID vaccine mandates at all. That should be a personal choice,” Dubose told Alabama Today. “I voted to table the amendment on the floor because we didn’t have time to research the amendment and vet any unintended consequences. I am happy to hear that the Senate did pass the adoption bill with a slightly different amendment so that an option with exemptions from vaccines will be available for potential parents. I will happily support the adoption bill when it comes back to the House with the vaccine exemption amendment.”
“That particular bill was not taking amendments on it at all,’ Dubose explained. “I knew it was going to fail. I try to vote with the Speaker when I can. “
Dubose said the House passed legislation limiting good time incentives for Alabama prisoners.
“Bibb County deputy Brad Johnson was shot and killed by a felon who had been out of prison only three days after serving only a third of his sentence,” Dubose said. “Russell Bedsole carried that in the House, and then April Weaver carried that in the Senate.”
“Dubose said that the Legislature also voted to outlaw exhibition driving.
“This is something that the Mayor of Birmingham and the Mayor of Hoover asked us to support,” Dubose said. “We have had 16 persons and a baby killed by a Dodge Charger that was doing donuts with a crowd watching.”
Dubose said the state’s economic incentives were renewed and passed out of the House on Thursday.
“Surrounding states are spending a lot of money on incentives,” Dubose explained.
“I support the economic incentive package “The Game Plan” proposed by our governor,” Dubose said. “This passed out of the House on Thursday.”
“Where are our workers going to come from,” Dubose said of the state’s labor force participation rate. “Only 56.7% of people are in the labor force. We need them to come back to work.”
“I do still worry about our workforce participation rate in Alabama, which keeps going down,” Dubose said.
Dubose said the Legislature also passed DRAM shop reform legislation so that bars and restaurants that serve alcohol can get liability insurance for when a person leaves their premises and is intoxicated and is involved in a wreck.
Dubose said that the Legislature also passed legislation to guarantee that patients of hospitals and nursing homes would be able to receive visitors in the future.
“During COVID, so many people died alone,” said Dubose. “The bill sponsor, Debbie Wood – We sit next to each other, and she explains everything to me. Her mother actually starved to death in a nursing home.”
Dubose said patients “can appoint a designated person who can visit two hours a day even if there is a crisis situation.”
Dubose said that she has good relationships with House Democrats.
“For the most part, it is amazing,” Dubose said. “I love those guys. We are more alike than we are different. They supported my women’s sports bill. The Democrats are the ones pushing the grocery tax repeal.”
“I support repealing the 4% state portion of the grocery tax, same as many of the Democrats and Republicans,” Dubose added.
Logan Glass is the Chairman of the Young Republican Federation of Alabama.
“Stephanie is doing a great job starting this group up again,” Glass said. “Historically, they have been hugely important in the YRs.”
The group elected their delegates to the state convention.
“The (state YR) convention is in Hoover on May 19 and 20,” Petelos said. ‘Social event, business meeting, luncheon, and dinner. Tickets the week of will cost $125.”
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