By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—When Rep. April Weaver (R- Alabaster) took the top spot as the first female Chair of the House Heath Committee, Speaker Mike Hubbard said her experience as a healthcare professional made her uniquely qualified to lead the committee.
Weaver is employed as Director of Business Development for Shelby Baptist Medical Center.
Weaver’s husband, Dr. Darrell Weaver, serves as Associate Medical Director for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama.
While Hubbard sees Rep. Weaver’s background as a plus, others, with business before the House Health Committee, might see it as presenting a conflict of interest.
As Director of Business Development for Shelby Baptist Medical Center, which is a part of Baptist Health System, Weaver would certainly be chairing meetings at which bills beneficial to her employer will be heard. She would also need to consider legislation that would affect her husband’s employer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama.
Section 36-25-5(b) of the Ethics Law prohibits lawmakers from voting on legislation which they know or should have known is a conflict of interest. The laws also prohibit using one’s official position to obtain personal gain for yourself or family member or any business with which you are associated under Section 36-25-5(a).
Rep. Weaver’s close ties to economic interests that would benefit hospitals and healthcare providers across the State, as well as her husband’s health insurance connection, could present a challenge to her navigating the House Health Committee.
Hubbard, when announcing her selection as chair, saw her work in health care as beneficial.
Weaver was appointed to her position by Speaker Hubbard, who stands accused by the State of 23 felony counts of public corruption. One charge includes him voting for legislation that would have benefited his client, American Pharmacy Cooperative Inc.
It will be interesting to note how many times Rep. Weaver will need to recuse herself from a House Health Committee hearing because of matters related to hospitals or insurance, that might directly impact her or her husband’s employer.