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Portia Shepherd

for Alabama State Senate District 23
 
 
Passion - Experience - Leadership
 

 Building a better world for a better tomorrow!

 

 

#timetowork

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LATEST NEWS

July 11, 2022 

AL.com

Savannah Tryens-Fernandes | stryens-fernandes@al.com                  

Alabama has 5th highest teen birth rate in US, but abstinence rules, lack of funding hamper progress
 

Overall, the teen birth rate in the country and in Alabama has fallen in recent decades, but Alabama’s remains relatively high. The state reported the fifth highest teen birth rate in the country for 2020.

Doctors say that could have deadly consequences after the end of legalized abortion in Alabama and many neighboring states.

“Teen birth rates are absolutely going to go up but what I’m worried about are death rates,” said Dr. Leah Torres, an OB/GYN and reproductive health specialist at the West Alabama Women’s Center. “The maternal mortality rate will go up when you have more births. That’s just math. But young people, people at those extremes of age, have a much higher risk of death in childbirth.”

Torres, who serves women in Black Belt counties and throughout the state, said she had patients - especially those who are on Medicaid or live in rural communities - on months-long waiting lists for IUDs and birth control. Often, the only option for her patients to access contraceptives is through their county health department, which can have long wait times to get an appointment. Fewer than 50% of Alabama counties have a hospital with obstetrical services, according to the Medical Association of Alabama.

January 13, 2022

AL.com

Dennis Pillion | dpillion@al.com      

             

Millions of pounds of garbage from other states again flooding rural Alabama

 

One of Alabama’s poorest Black communities has become, once again, a major dumping ground for trash from up and down the eastern seaboard.

The small city of Uniontown in Alabama’s Black Belt is awash in a deluge of out-of-state garbage, receiving more than half a million tons of waste through the first three quarters of 2021, according to records from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.

The landfill created national controversy when it accepted millions of tons of coal ash waste in 2009, but since then, its out-of-state business had dwindled to almost nothing. In 2017, the landfill reported taking no waste from outside Alabama.

That changed quickly after developers based in New York and New Jersey bought the landfill in December 2018. Imported waste at the landfill has increased every quarter since the end of 2019.

Last year, Arrowhead took in 504,459 tons of waste from January through September of 2021. With fourth quarter totals not yet available, that’s already nearly 10 times more than the landfill took in all of 2018.And by the third quarter of 2021, more than 93% of the waste came from out of state.

January 31, 2022

AL.com

Trisha Powell Crain | tcrain@al.com

 

Alabama lawmakers eye creation of ‘ultimate’ parent choice, education savings legislation

 

Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, on Tuesday will file what he calls the “ultimate” school choice bill. The proposed bill would allow parents to access money that the state would have used to pay for their child’s public education – approximately $6,300 last year – and direct it to other types of schooling, including private school and homeschool options.

Eight states currently have laws allowing Education Savings Accounts – the mechanism through which the money is accessed. According to EdChoice, which supports and tracks school choice programs nationwide, around 31,000 students are using ESAs in all eight states combined. 

ESAs are akin to vouchers, allowing funds to be accessed directly by families but differ from vouchers in that ESAs can be used to pay for more than tuition.

February 28, 2021

AL.com

Travis Loller, Associated Press

 

Biden administration promises focus on environmental 'improvements', like Uniontown’s 2013 coal ash claim

 

Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, on Tuesday will file what he calls the “ultimate” school choice bill. The proposed bill would allow parents to access money that the state would have used to pay for their child’s public education – approximately $6,300 last year – and direct it to other types of schooling, including private school and homeschool options.

Eight states currently have laws allowing Education Savings Accounts – the mechanism through which the money is accessed. According to EdChoice, which supports and tracks school choice programs nationwide, around 31,000 students are using ESAs in all eight states combined. 

ESAs are akin to vouchers, allowing funds to be accessed directly by families but differ from vouchers in that ESAs can be used to pay for more than tuition.

PORTIA'S MESSAGE