By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Wednesday Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed a pair of bills that were sponsored by Rep. Elaine Beech (D) from Chatom. Rep. Beech and the Alabama Democratic Party released a written statement following the Governor’s signing ceremony held in the old House Chamber of the Capital Building in Montgomery.
State Representative Beech said, “As a mother and former school board member, education is a top priority of mine,” said Beech. “This new legislation will not only improve the way our school boards conduct business, but will also help Alabama farmers and provide more nutritious food for our school children.” “Proper nutrition is essential to every child’s growth and development. Our children will be healthier, and our local farmers will have a new market to sell their products.” The bill will make it easier for Alabama farmers to sell Alabama grown produce to Alabama children in Alabama schools.
According to the written statement, the Farm-To-School Procurement Act requires that the Alabama Department of Agriculture and the State Department of Education have to work together to explore the potential for Alabama School Systems to purchase locally grown Alabama farm products. The law also provides food preparation training to service staff in local schools so they will be better prepared to handle fresh local foods.
Governor Bentley also signed the School Board Governance Improvement Act of 2012 into law. This was another piece of legislation which was sponsored by Alabama State Representative Beech. Rep. Beech said, “Having served on the Washington County Board of Education, I know that this legislation will make a significant difference in the performance of all school board members in our state. By setting up clear guidelines and providing for training and continuing education, school board members will be much better prepared for the tasks they face as they guide our schools through these difficult times.”
Rep. Beech’s statement said that the new law: “Establishes several new requirements for school board members. Among these requirements, school board members will now be required to receive training and continuing education in boardsmanship, as well as publicly affirm certain principles of educational governance.” The law defines the responsibilities of school board members and imposes sanctions on school board members whose actions or inaction constitutes neglect of duty or willful misconduct. The law requires that both the State Board of Education and local school boards adopt a model code of conduct for board members. Rep. Beech’s written statement said that the new requirements on school boards in Alabama will improve how boards conduct business.
Rep. Beech sponsored a third bill which created uniform standards and criteria for auditing pharmacy records. Rep. Beech carried the bill in the House of Representatives. Gov. Bentley also signed this legislation into law.
Rep. Elaine Beech is a pharmacist from Chatom, Alabama who represents Alabama State House District 65. District 65 covers Clarke, Choctaw, and Washington Counties. She was first elected to the state House of Representatives in a special election in November, 2009.