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For Immediate Release: March 12, 2020

Scofield talks session

The Alabama Senate has passed two bills while preparing to vote on another that recently moved out of committee to be discussed on the floor.

On Thursday, March 5, the Senate passed the Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act, a bill that “prohibits the performance of medical procedure or the prescription or issuance of medication … that is intended to alter the minor child’s gender or delay puberty.”

The procedures and treatments banned under this bill include puberty blocking medication, transgender hormone therapy, surgeries that sterilize, surgeries that artificially construct tissue with the appearance of genitalia that differs from the individual’s biological sex and removing any healthy or non-diseased body part or tissue.
The bill passed with a vote of 22-3. Sen. Clay Scofield, R-Red Hill, said he fully supported the bill.

“We heard of parents who are giving their children

hormone blockers at a young age, before the age of consent,” he said. “It is causing them to have severe health issues down the road. So, the bill basically says parents cannot do that until the age of consent.”

The House version of the bill, HB303, has moved out of committee and is set to be voted on soon.

The Senate passed another bill Thursday that placed a statewide price cap on pole-attachment fees for 5G cell phone networks.

“5G is coming, and providers are beginning to build out the infrastructure to begin to offer 5G cell service,” Scofield said. “One of the things holding them back was we did not have a statewide, uniform attachment fee with a reasonable cap on it.”

5G, which stands for fifth generation, is the newest mobile network technology. Due to the smaller, faster wavelengths 5G uses, more towers are needed — compared to 4G — for full coverage of an area. The 5G towers are smaller and can be attached to the sides of buildings, power poles and other structures.

Scofield said the bill caps the fee to attach a 5G tower at $270, which is in line with the federal maximum.

“It’s a good bill for consumers, because — our local municipalities weren’t doing this, but some other municipalities in the state were charging outrageous fees for pole attachment. That gets passed down to consumers. This will help to keep cell prices low in Alabama in the future.”

The bill will go on to be discussed and voted on in the House.

The Senate will soon be voting on bill that would make marijuana legal for medical use. The Medical Cannabis bill, SB165, spells out under what conditions marijuana could be manufactured, sold and consumed by qualified patients.

Patients would need to be diagnosed with an approved condition by a registered physician to receive a prescription. They would be required to register with the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission — which the bill creates to oversee the implementation of the its provisions, keep up with the latest medical marijuana science and make sure all laws concerning its production and use are followed. Qualifying patients would then be given a medical marijuana card, which would allow them to purchase medical marijuana from registered dispensaries. Patients under 18 years old would require a guardian to handle the cannabis.

Some of the qualifying medical conditions include anxiety, autism, cancer, Crohn’s Disease, seizures, HIV/AIDS, fibromyalgia, post-traumatic stress disorder, sleep disorders, Tourette’s Syndrome and conditions causing chronic nausea or pain. Other conditions not specified in the bill may be considered by the commission.

The bill protects employers from liability if one of their employees is prescribed medical marijuana –– something Scofield said he insisted upon. The bill would also prevent an employee who uses medical cannabis from qualifying for workers’ compensation in “certain circumstances.”

The bill would prohibit the use of medical marijuana in any smokable or vaping product, baked goods or food item, or in its raw plant form.

The bill moved out of committee in February but has yet to be voted on as of Wednesday, March 11.

For More Information Contact: Marshall County Legislative Office, 256-582-0619

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