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7/1/2007 - July 2007 Educational Update - Alabama Legislature 2007 Regular Session - The Least Productive Ever

AN EDUCATIONAL UPDATE FROM

THE SOUTHEAST LAW INSTITUTE, INC.TM

 

To:                  SLI Supporters                                 

 

Date:               July 2007

 

From:              A. Eric Johnston

 

Re:                  Alabama Legislature 2007 Regular Session - The Least Productive Ever

 

 

            Our April 2007 Educational Update warned the 2007 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature would be difficult.  We warned of the danger of destructive legislation.  While we hoped for comity among members and favorable results, we predicted that goodness, unity and evenhandedness do not often exist.  The outcome was good in that nothing bad passed, but our prediction came true.

 

            We will provide a brief summary of what happened to a number of family related bills.  As you will see, destructive alcohol and gambling bills did not pass, but bills that would have taught Christian heritage or which would have provided health benefits also did not pass.  One event was very important and significant.  We noted in our April Educational Update the draconian rules adopted by the Senate majority.  For the first time in memory, the minority who are subject to significant abuse stood up to the majority and insisted on fairness.  Only in the last days of the session did the Senate majority agree to a workable process.  While necessary budgets and a few bills passed, many other very good bills died.  We congratulate that Senate minority who stood up for principle.

 

Sanctity of Life and Related Bills

 

-          SB59 (Erwin) - hearing in Judiciary Committee, but no vote; would have prohibited abortion.

-          HB329 (Collier) - filed with no action; would have prohibited some and regulated other abortions.

-          HB794 (Collier) - filed with no action; would have provided a civil damage cause of action for killing (other than abortion) an unborn child.

-          HB314 (Galliher) - filed with no action; would have required abortionists to have admitting privileges to local hospitals, with various reporting and other regulation of abortion clinics.  

-          HB28 (Allen) - filed with no action; would prohibit human cloning.

-          HB530 (Johnson) - passed House Health Committee; would have provided for banking of umbilical cord blood for future stem cell use.

-          HB128 (Ford) - filed with no action; would define life beginning at conception, but made it subject to U.S. Supreme Court decisions; this bill was a charade and not acceptable.

 

Religion, Family and Related Bills

 

-          HB127 (Guin) - filed with no action; would have required the unacceptable Bible and Its Influence book to be taught as an elective course in public schools; HB862 changed the bill to remove this restriction, though there were still objectionable features; these bills were not acceptable

-          HB184 (Galliher) - filed with no action; would exempt churches from sales and use tax.

-          HB482 (Galliher) and SB292 (Little, Z.) - hearings in House and Senate Education Committees, but no action; would have required designation of a "Christian Heritage Week" and Christian heritage history be taught in public schools; committee members verbally denigrated this worthy effort.

-          HB247 (Holmes) - filed in the House and assigned to Judiciary, indefinitely postponed; would have amended the Hate Crimes law to include sexual orientation.

-          HB118 (Hinshaw) - passed House and Senate committee; would amend the Fair Campaign Practices Act to regulate "electioneering"; this means nonprofit organizations who  provide to the public "issue information" would be required to report donors, etcetera, to the state.

 

Gambling Bills

 

-          HB527 (Black) - passed the House Tourism & Travel Committee; would permit Birmingham and Mobile race tracks to have unlimited gambling without regulation, paying 20 percent of net proceeds to Medicaid.

-          SB390 (Penn) - passed Senate Tourism & Travel Committee, indefinitely postponed; would have put Macon County gambling under the control of a racing commission; would have permitted unregulated gambling.

-          SB170 (Singleton) - same action and purpose as SB390, except for Greene County.

-          HB316 (McCampbell) - passed Local Legislation Committee and re-referred to House Tourism & Travel Committee; similar to SB170 except provided even broader unregulated provisions.

Note:  The gambling bills all contained provisions which would have exempted gambling operations from all criminal laws and specifically Alabama Constitutional prohibitions against games of chance.  The efforts of these bills were to create at the appointed places unlimited casino operations.  

 

Alcohol Related Bills

 

-          There were a number of bills introduced to increase the sale and consumption of alcohol.  Most did not pass including bills to:  increase the alcohol content of beer (several bills), permit the selling of fortified wine (higher alcohol content) in grocery stores, sell alcohol in state parks, provide for the Sunday sales of alcohol in mid-size cities, viz., Athens, Tuscaloosa, Gadsden, Dothan, etcetera (HB507), and other similar bills. 

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