2/1/2007 - February 2007 SLI Newsletter
Every year as the Alabama legislative session approaches, SLI is asked to draft or review proposed legislation. The bills we have reviewed have been many and varied through the years. Most often, they deal with individual liberties and freedoms, and religious, abortion, gambling, and other moral issues.
As you know from past reports, it has been difficult to pass such legislation. For example, it took thirteen years to get the Woman's Right to Know Act passed. Those senators and representatives who sponsor such legislation usually find themselves shut out of the very legislative process for which they have been elected.
This month, we make a frank assessment of the legislative situation. We foresee significant problems. Regardless, we will draft and review legislation, testify and provide legal advice and assessment. We do not despair. As Alabama Baptist Executive Director Dr. Rick Lance recently said when referring to turmoil in the Middle East, our hope is in Jesus Christ. We cannot know or predict the outcome, but we do know our calling.
Among other matters, we were recently asked to assist a student who was removed from a public school because of violating a school policy. The student had inadvertently brought to school in his car a type of gun, though it would not be defined as a firearm. Due to the "zero tolerance policy" of the school, the student was removed to alternative school. Many schools have adopted zero tolerance policies for guns, drugs and other violations. Unfortunately, the courts have to this point upheld the constitutionality of zero tolerance. That is, there are no forgiving or mitigating circumstances if there is a violation. In this instance, the student had never had a problem, had good grades, and did not intend to violate the policy. We believe mitigation should always be a consideration. It is not a justification or excuse, but a consideration in reducing the degree of moral culpability. If you have questions about this issue, please do not hesitate to call us.
Finally, as we begin the legislative season, we will dedicate much time and resources in preparing for, attending and participating in the process. This means time away from our daily income producing private practice of law. Please remember to support us financially and prayerfully. We are grateful for your support.
Yours very truly,
A. Eric Johnston
<-- Go Back