Senator Lance Bell: Camaraderie in the People’s House & our immigration crisis

June 6th marked the last day of the 2023 legislative session and the end of my first session as your State Senator in District 11. I realized from the beginning that this session would be a valuable learning experience. Despite being new to the Senate, I believed that I could have a meaningful impact on the legislative session.

Support from the sophomore class of legislators was immediately evident, inspiring, and invaluable. Despite the competitive nature often associated with politics, these now-seasoned legislators graciously took the rookies under their wing, offering guidance and mentorship. Their willingness to share their knowledge and experiences planted a solid foundation for me and the other freshmen to navigate the world of state government. This guidance allowed me to make an impact in my first session.

When I compare the Alabama Legislature to the dysfunction in Washington, D.C., I learned to admire our state’s approach. I often express my belief that if D.C. worked like Montgomery, we could actually fix the problems our great nation faces. In Alabama, we collaborate, find common ground, and prioritize the needs of our constituents – I am proud to be a part of this model.

During this first session, I had the privilege of joining various leaders from around the state on a trip to see our nation’s southern border. This visit caused my perspective on governance to be changed forever. While we were there, we saw countless human rights violations and total chaos. We learned how the cartels are using aerial drones to spot gaps in the border patrol for their drug mules to pass. The wall needs to be finished, and the border needs to be closed. As everyone knows, illegal drugs are a menace to our hard-working families. This mayhem compelled me to act. Motivated by the horrors and human rights atrocities I witnessed, I returned home with a sense of purpose.

Collaborating with colleagues, I introduced legislation that offers practical solutions for the challenges faced by the border crisis. My bill, SB320, mandates that any criminal alien must have a fingerprint and DNA swab on file if they are to be released. My bill will be a tool to aid law enforcement. This adds a level of security for our law enforcement officers and allows us to keep a database for future investigations. Unfortunately, as fast-paced as Montgomery can be, we were not able to pass my bill before the session ended.

This setback has not slowed me down but rather fueled my determination to make a positive difference. As a legislator, I find inspiration in my 14- and 11-year-old children. They, as well as other children, deserve the best our state has to offer, and I will do everything in my power to provide that to them.

The responsibility to spark change lies within each of us. Engaging with my community and listening to my constituents’ concerns are integral to my job as a Senator. While we could not pass SB320 this session, I am committed to enhancing and strengthening its provisions. I am diligently working to ensure that when the 2024 legislative session arrives, I will be fully prepared to reintroduce the bill with an even greater determination to make it the law.

I am here in the present, ready, willing, and able to make positive and meaningful changes to give everyone opportunities to be successful. 

Lance Bell represents Senate District 11 and is life long St. Clair County resident.

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