State senators and representatives hear from residents ahead of legislative session

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala.  – The Huntsville City Council chamber was packed Tuesday as residents and community groups made their cases to local senators and representatives.

The 2020 Alabama Legislative Session will start on February 4, 2020, and will adjourn on May 18, 2020.

Each person that decided to address the politicians got 3 minutes to make their cases. Not every person heard back from their representatives for each topic.

The topics themselves came from all across the board.

“I am here in support of direct access to physical therapy,” said one woman.

“Firearms are the second leading cause of death among children and teens in Alabama. That’s only second to car accidents,” said Amy Garrison with Moms Demand Action.

Cherelle Fletcher was also in attendance. She asked representatives to tackle legislation surrounding police body cameras. Cherelle’s husband, Dana was shot and killed after he pulled a gun on Madison police officers in October.

A good portion of the concern/lobbying centered around health. Which included mental health, Medicaid expansion, and reproductive rights.

“There is an extreme shortage of beds for the seriously mentally ill. 64 state beds for the 16 counties of North Alabama. For 1 million people,” said Mack Yates of NAMI.

Rep. Rex Reynolds of House District 21 responded to Yates saying, “You’ll soon see three priorities come out of that committee. There’s been some really hard work done on that in the past summer.”

Pro-choice supporters voiced concern on government spending as it pertains to fighting abortion.

“Stop wasting taxpayer money trying to defend unconstitutional laws that interfere with doctor and patient relationships,” one woman said.

The forum was peaceful. However, some in attendance were not thrilled with how legislators are doing.

“We want affordable care. They are not listening. They are not listening because the people who are asking for affordable care… it’s not the voting population. If they were, they wouldn’t be there (in office),” said Jerry Burnet, the Huntsville-Madison County NAACP President.

Roughly 30 people chose to speak at the forum.