6/2/2008 - June 2008 SLI Newsletter
Once again we have concluded another session of the Alabama Legislature. As with last year, it was virtually a do nothing session due to the deadlock in the Senate. As a result of this inactivity, the Governor will be forced to call a special session in order to pass the education fund budget. There were many moral and family related bills. Dan Ireland at ALCAP told me they were monitoring 117 bills during the session. Our Educational Update is a synopsis of the session.
Also, once again, the session was dominated by gambling interests. In the Senate, ten or more days of the body were spent on one gambling bill. Other gambling bills were considered in the Senate and House. This year, we have seen more activity on gambling than in the past. It was not only prevalent through attempted legislative enactments, but several counties and at least one city have attempted to expand charitable bingo into major electronic casino type operations. In the near future, SLI will explain in an Educational Update why gambling so dominates the political landscape in Alabama.
From this you might think that gambling was the most important business to be transacted in the State of Alabama. The activities of many members of the Alabama Legislature border on the frivolous and ridiculous. While SLI does not lobby, we observe through our legal work the extraordinary waste of time and resources that takes place. Perhaps, the best thing we could recommend is for citizens to be in touch with their local Representatives and Senators and ask them what they did this year.
In addition to winding up our legislative activities, SLI provided significant documentation and testimony to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. On April 29, 2008, a hearing entitled "Religious Freedom and Discrimination in Public Schools" was held at the historic 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. The hearing focused on religious discrimination in Alabama public schools. We provided extensive information to the committee based on our many years of participating in the protection of public school students' religious rights. We also explained state discrimination in nonpublic education. We hope the Commission will act to protect these important constitutional rights. We will provide a summary of our presentation in an upcoming Educational Update.
Your support makes these activities possible. Thank you for your prayers and contributions. Please remember we are coming into the summer months when our contributions usually fall off. Please remember us with a very generous contribution this month. Thank you for your support.
Yours very truly,
A. Eric Johnston
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