2023 Regular Session Preview

Article by: Mimi Penhale, Legislative Director

                 Amy Young, PR Assistant


The 2023 Regular Legislative Session is set to begin on March 7 to kick off the first year of a new quadrennium. This session welcomes a large number of new legislators, who were elected to office in November 2022.  Roughly one-third of the legislators elected in the fall are new this cycle.

Our 11-member delegation welcomed in three new faces this election cycle. New to the Delegation are Senator Lance Bell, Representative Leigh Hulsey, and Representative Susan DuBose. While the rest of the Delegation are returning, three others in our Delegation, all of whom were originally elected during special elections, are gearing up for their first full terms. Senator April Weaver has been in the legislative body for most of the past 12 years but is serving her first full term as a senator. Representatives Russell Bedsole and Kenneth Paschal, elected in special elections in 2020 and 2021 respectively, will be serving their first full terms this cycle.

Budgets will be a priority to discuss this spring. The Alabama Legislature is required, by law, to pass the General Fund and Education Budgets yearly, with allocations coming from the previous year’s receipts. Despite the instability in the economy, the state saw a surplus in revenue. When surplus occurs, there are several options on how to address the excess, with some mentions of tax rebates or saving in the rainy-day fund being mentioned as options this year. Other potential topics of interest in the legislative body are addressing allocation for ARPA funding, criminal justice reform, infrastructure, and economic development. So far, there are 72 pre-filed bills on the docket, including six from Shelby County legislators.

 The American Recovery Plan Act, or ARPA, must be designated by the Legislature before the end of the year. ARPA funding is of interest to the governor, so there is expected to be a special session to address those funding needs. This will likely happen during the regular session, and is a way for the governor to force the legislature to address a specific issue.  The bills that can be passed during a special session must be directly related to the topic that the governor designates. When a special session and a regular session overlap, the 105 days that the legislature can meet are also being used up. That means that if the legislature does not act swiftly to address the topic at hand, then the number of days that the legislature can freely meet and pass their own/other bills are getting smaller. 


Here’s a look at what each legislator is expected to focus on during this session:


Senator Lance Bell is stepping into his first term as a legislator. He is an attorney by trade, so he will be bringing his knowledge of the judicial system to the legislature. He is putting a focus on learning from everyone around him in his first session. So far, his diligence and eagerness to grow and serve to the best of his abilities has even been noticed by Senate Pro Tem Greg Reed. He has an interest in helping solve the current crisis surrounding funding resources for emergency services, as well as tackling the rate of teacher assaults. Sen. Bell will sit on the following Committees:

– Judiciary                                                       – State Government

– Healthcare                                                    – Children and Youth Health

– Tourism                                                         – Veterans, military Affairs, and Public Safety


Senator April Weaver is headed into her first full term as a senator, but represented a portion of her current district when she was in the Alabama House of Representatives. As always, you can expect to see some focus on healthcare from Senator Weaver. Her background in nursing gives her a unique perspective that has been seen throughout her time as a legislator. She has two bills already pre-filed. Her SB1, the Deputy Brad Johnson Act, sets out to revise Alabama’s current Good Time law, which lays out how inmates will be able to collect “good time” for early release. The bill is in honor of Deputy Brad Johnson of Bibb County, who was killed in the line of duty by an inmate that was released on good time. Sen. Weaver has been selected to be the Vice Chair for the Senate’s Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee, as well as being elected the Vice Chair of the Shelby County Delegation. She will also sit on the following committees:

– Healthcare                                                     – Transport and Energy

– Finance and Taxation General Fund                   – Judiciary

– Rules                                                             – Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development

– Shelby County Delegation


Senator Dan Roberts will again serve as the Shelby County Legislative Delegation Senate Chairman this session. He has a background in real estate as well as international trade and investments. In the past, he has sponsored a wide variety of legislation, usually related to business and taxation. He is also the Senate Republican Caucus Chaplin. This session he will also serve as Vice Chair for the Children and Youth Health committee. Sen. Roberts will serve on a total of 11 committees, including:

– Banking and Insurance                              – State Government

– Healthcare                                                 – Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development

– Joint Legislative Prison                              – Reapportionment

– Finance and Taxation Education                – Rules

– Children and Youth Health                          – Shelby and Jefferson County Delegations


Senator Jabo Waggoner is celebrating his 50th year as a member of the legislative body, which makes him the longest-serving legislator in Alabama history. He will remain the Chairperson for the Senate Rules Committee, which holds a great deal of power in decision-making, as well as serving as the Chair for the Jefferson County Delegation. Senator Waggoner typically spreads his interests out in the legislation he carries, but has not pre filed any bills, at this time. He will also be sitting on the following committees:

– Banking and Insurance                                                                     – Confirmations

– Finance and Taxation Education                                                       – Joint Transportation

– Legislative Committee on Public Accounts                                       – Rules

– Nuclear Energy and Hazardous Chemical Toxic Waste Oversight

– Shelby and Jefferson County Delegations


Representative Leigh Hulsey is a newcomer to the delegation but has already been recognized as a standout amongst the freshman class. She has been named the Freshman Representative for the House Republican Caucus. Representative Hulsey is looking at tackling many issues, including supporting members of the military and their families, public education, conservative spending and transportation. Rep. Hulsey will sit on the following committees:

– Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure

– Ethics and Campaign Finance

– Shelby County Delegation


Representative Corley Ellis is chairing the House Insurance Committee this session. He has a background in real estate, and was a previous County Commissioner for Shelby County. His experience gives him the perspective of sensible spending and saving. This year, one of his top priorities is responsible future planning for the state revenue. He will also be carrying some local county legislation this session, but those bills have not been pre-filed yet. Rep. Ellis has taken on six committees this year:

– Fiscal Responsibility                                                             – Insurance

– Joint Legislative Committee on State Parks                         – Ways and Means Education

– Permanent Legislative Committee on Reapportionment      – Shelby County Delegation


Representative Arnold Mooney is the Shelby County Delegation Chairperson and the Vice Chairperson for the Constitutions, Campaigns, and Elections Committee. Representative Mooney has one bill pre-filed that would continue current legislation regarding ignition interlocking devices that was set to expire this year. Rep. Mooney is a member of the following committees:

– Constitution, Campaigns and Elections                   – Healthcare

– Ways and Means General Fund                              – Shelby County Delegation


Representative Susan DuBose is one of our new legislators and is eager to make her mark as a strong female voice in the legislative body. She has a personal history in banking and has taken an interest in legislation regarding women’s health, education and the fentanyl issue. Rep. DuBose has five committees this session:

– Health                                                                       – Education Policy

– Fiscal Responsibility                                                 – Shelby and Jefferson County Delegations


Representative Russell Bedsole is starting his first full term, after being elected to finish out the term of his predecessor (April Weaver) in 2020. He is our new Shelby County Delegation House Vice Chairperson and is also the Vice Chairperson of the State Government Committee. Representative Bedsole has dedicated his life to serve in law enforcement and is currently a captain with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. He has a pre-filed bill that would designate Alabama Peace Officers’ Memorial Day, and his HB9 is the companion bill to Sen. Weaver’s SB1. Currently, Rep. Bedsole will be on three committees:

– Public Safety and Homeland Security                  – Judiciary

– State Government                                                – Shelby County Delegation


Representative Kenneth Paschal is in his first full term as an elected official, after winning the seat in a special election in 2021. He has a passion for parental rights and served in the U.S. Military, and both have played a part in shaping how Rep. Paschal represents his district. He  will be the Vice Chairperson for the Military and Veteran Affairs Committee. He currently has one pre-filed bill that seeks to codify parental rights based on current U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Rep. Paschal will be on four committees:

– Constitution, Campaigns and Elections                – Education Policy

– Military and Veterans Affairs                                  – Shelby County Legislation


Representative Jim Carns was a member of the legislative body from 1990-2006 and came back in 2011 after serving a term as a Jefferson County commissioner. He currently serves as the Chairperson for the Commerce and Small Business Committee, as well as Chair for the Jefferson County Delegation. Rep. Carns has a background in business, and was a small business owner, so he works to ensure that Alabama has business friendly laws, especially for small business. Rep. Carns is serving on the following committees:                        

-Permanent Joint Legislative Committee on Energy Policy    – Children and Senior Advocacy

– Commerce and Small Business                                            – Shelby and Jefferson County Delegation

Previous 2023 Shelby Chamber Legislative Preview

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