Our website is here to better connect the citizens of Shelby county with their legislators. On our "Home" page, you will find videos and email links to of each delegate, as well as, updates on what your legislators are doing around the state and county.
The "Contact Us" page has an email form that comes directly to my email mailbox, but there is also an email address, physical address, contact number, and fax number listed.
Please feel free to contact me or any members of the delegation with your questions. We hope you find this website helpful and look forward to working with you on making Alabama a better place to live.
Mimi W. Penhale
Senator Cam Ward
Senator Cam Ward graduated from Troy State University in 1993 with a Bachelor of Science in International Relations and Political Science. He received a Juris Doctorate of Law from Cumberland School of Law, at Samford University in Birmingham.
Cam served as Deputy Attorney General in the Alabama State Auditor’s Office from April 1996 until December 1997. In 1998, he joined the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office as Confidential Assistant to the Secretary of State.
From November 1998 to June 2001, Cam worked as District Director for Congressman Spencer Bachus of Birmingham.
In June 2001, Cam entered into private law practice with a specialization in economic development. In that capacity, he has served as the Executive Director of the Industrial Development Board of Alabaster. He actively recruits new business for Alabaster and works closely with current business owners to help develop a positive atmosphere for economic growth.
Cam has been a member of the Alabama Republican Party State Executive Committee since 1999. He was elected as an alternate delegate for George W. Bush to the 2000 and 2004 Republican National Conventions. In 2008, Cam served as State Legislative Chairman for the John McCain for President Campaign in Alabama. From 2002 to 2010, Cam served in the Alabama House of Representatives for District 49. He was Vice-Chairman of the House Republican Caucus and a member of the Rules, Judiciary and Education Policy Committees.
In 2010, Cam was elected to the Alabama State Senate. He serves a Co-Chairman of the Judiciary and Energy & Natural Resources Committees. He is also a member of the Health,
Ways & Means General Fund, Confirmations and Business & Labor Committees. In addition, Cam serves as a member of the Legislative Council, Energy Council, Commission on Uniform State Laws and the Joint Reapportionment Committee.
Cam has also been active in numerous civic organizations. In 2011, he was elected as President of the Alabama Law Institute. Currently, Cam serves on the Board of Directors for Easter Seals of Greater Birmingham, YMCA of Alabaster, Leadership Shelby County, the American Village, the Shelby County Arts Council and the Alabama Autism Council.
In 2007, Cam was named Troy University Alumnus of the Year. He received the honor of being named Young Alumnus of the Year from Cumberland School of Law in 2011.
In 2008, Easter Seals of the United States named Cam it’s State Elected Official of the Year for his work in Autism advocacy and services as Chairman of the Alabama Autism Task Force.
Cam resides in Alabaster and has one daughter, Riley.
Shelby County Represenatives during Health Committee Meeting
Senator Ward Discusses Prison Reform
Rep, Weaver Named 2015 Rural Electric Assoc. Representative of the Year
Rep. Allen Farley and Rep. Dickie Drake at State House
Senator McClendon works on Redistricting in Al
2016 End of Session Update
By Mimi Penhale, Legislative Director
The 2016 Session ended on Wednesday, May 4th. As always, the last few days of session can be a whirlwind of bills being passed and the reality that some bills will die without ever getting a floor vote. This year, there were a many bills that did not make it out of the Legislature, some of which could have major repercussions on the citizens of Alabama. Major concerns are based off of three pieces of legislation that did not pass: the Prison Bond bill, Medicaid Funding, and the BP Settlement money. Here is a brief explanation on why people are concerned about these issues.
Prison Bond Bill
Last year the Legislature passed major legislation to combat the overcrowded prison system problem in Alabama. The legislation changed sentencing guidelines, created another Class of felony and penalties for some nonviolent offenders, and increased the number of probation officer positions, as well as a number of other measures, in an effort to safely decrease the number of nonviolent offenders who are overcrowding the current system. This was a step in the right direction to avoid federal government intervention on Alabama’s prison system, which would include a mass release of inmates.
The next step for Prison Reform was the creation of new prisons in the state. While the 2015 legislation moves the state in the right direction, the legislation will only decrease the number of new inmates, not the current population. At around 190% capacity, something must be done to decrease the overcrowded system and the fastest way to do that, without a mass release, is by creating more bed space. Major stakeholders in Alabama believe that the creation of new prions is the best way to prevent a federal takeover. The 2016 Legislation sought to build four new prisons using an $800 million bond issue. The proposed prison plan would house between 3,000 and 4,000 inmates. Many of our existing prisons would then be closed due to being outdated and not up to federal standards.
Lawmakers concluded session before a compromise could be reached on the bill.
Medicaid funding is part of the General Fund Budget, which was passed out of the Legislature and signed by the Governor around the middle of session. The issue with Medicaid funding is that the budget does not fully fund the $785 million that the Alabama Medicaid Agency says it needs for 2017. The legislature instead chose to fund Medicaid for the upcoming 2017 fiscal year at $700 million. According to Medicaid Commissioner Stephanie Azar, the results of not fully funding the requested Medicaid budget, will be a drop in services for many Alabamians on Medicaid.
Medicaid covers over 1 million Alabamians medical costs. The Medicaid Agency fears that the lack of funding will result in doctors refusing Medicaid patients and services being cut in rural areas. Both would mean longer travel and wait times for poor adults, children, disabled individuals, and the elderly.
Session ended with no additional money going to the 2017 Medicaid Budget.
BP Settlement Money
The BP Settlement issue is twofold: how to receive the money and what to do with the money. The BP Oil Spill Settlement for the state of Alabama is $1 billion that is to be dispersed as $50 million a year over the next 20 years. Many lawmakers support the idea of the state taking a lump sum of around $640 million, by getting a bond issue, instead of the yearly payments. Even though the lump sum would mean less dollars for the state, the lump sum would provide the state with money it could use right now, instead of waiting years to collect enough money to carry out some much needed projects.
The second, and more hotly debated, issue is how to use the money. Lawmakers from south Alabama, especially Baldwin and Mobile counties, believe that more money from the settlement should come to their counties. These counties were hit the hardest by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, which resulted in loss of jobs, tourism, and food production, especially seafood, in these areas. Other lawmakers argue that restoration projects for the affected areas have already been funded by separate money, so the entire state should benefit from the settlement.
The House passed a bill that would use the money to pay back $450 million of the state debt and would give $190 million to costal road projects. However, the bill did not make it out of the Senate committee due to many senators favoring a plan to pay back $540 million of the state debt and using $100 million for road projects across the state, with a double share going to Baldwin and Mobile counties.
Lawmakers concluded session without finding middle ground on the settlement money. Since no decision was made, the state will receive the $50 million a year and hold the money until lawmakers can decide how the money will be dispersed.