State Sen. Stutts: ‘Check and balances’ needed on COVID-19, ‘Don’t know that we need the legislature making public health decisions directly’
It is a high likelihood when the Alabama legislature reconvenes in 2021, there will be efforts to limit the executive authority granted to the governor during health emergencies, as has been experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
State Sen. Larry Stutts (R-Tuscumbia), a practicing obstetrician in his district that includes the southern half of the Shoals region, commended State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris for his willingness to make tough decisions. However, he said it was time to evaluate those decisions.
Stutts told Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show” an oversight component regarding public policy’s impacts was something “reasonable” to consider in the future.
“I understand the concerns, and I’ll say I don’t know that we need the legislature making public health decisions directly,” he said. “As I said, Dr. [Scott] Harris is well qualified. He and I have known each other for years. We were actually in residency together. I’ve known Scott for a good number of years. But, this was a 100-year pandemic. We have never had anything like this since the early 1900s. When all this started, there was no direction from other people in the department having experience dealing with it, whatever. So, the governor, Dr. Harris, had to make some decisions about what we were going to do. As I said earlier, we know more about it, and we’ve limited a lot of things that are now proven not to be important in the spread of the disease.”
“And we need to go back and visit those things,” Stutts continued. “Yeah, the masks are probably important. But taking salt and pepper shakers out of restaurants is not important. We’ve just done a lot of things like that — we’ve learned as we’ve went. As far as limiting the authority, I do think we need some checks and balances. But again, the state health officer is well qualified and has access to a lot of data that other people may not have. But again — that may sound like I’m riding the fence on the issue, but I do think medical professionals need to be making the medical decisions. But as far as public policy decisions and setting some parameters of what they can do without oversight, I think is probably reasonable.”
Stutts added that he acknowledges a need for “checks and balances,” especially as economic consequences result from the COVID-19 emergency orders.
@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.