MONTGOMERY, Ala. (Aug. 11, 2016) – The Alabama State House and Senate leadership soundly rejected the principles of the Founding Fathers during the 2016 legislative session. They protected the status quo by killing six bills that would have helped block the enforcement of unconstitutional policies. To make matters worse, several of the legislative acts did not even receive a vote in their respective chambers.
A rundown of key legislation that failed in Alabama this year is as follows:
Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Bay Minette) introduced SB143 to abolish all requirements to obtain a marriage license in Alabama. Under the proposed law, a judge of probate would have no authority to reject any recording of a marriage, so long as the affidavits, forms, and data are provided. In practice, the state’s role in marriage would be limited to recording marriages that have already occurred. The bill experienced some initial success. It passed the Senate by a 23-3 vote. The House Judiciary Committee approved the bill with minor amendments, but SB143 would not proceed any further because House Speaker Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) killed the bill by refusing to schedule it for a full House vote.
Rep. Ed Henry (R-Decatur) introduced HB437 to assert that all federal acts, laws, orders, rules, or regulations regarding firearms constitute a “violation of the Second Amendment as determined by the Alabama state courts, the legislature, and the governor.” It went on to declare all such measures as “invalid in this state,” and that they “shall not be recognized by this state, are specifically rejected by this state, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this state.” Finally, HB437 would have required the state legislature to “adopt and enact any and all measures as may be necessary to prevent the enforcement of any federal acts, laws, orders, rules, or regulations in violation of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.” After passing the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee by a 7-1 vote, House Speaker Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) was the culprit yet again. He killed the bill by refusing to schedule it for a full House vote.
HB264 was introduced by Rep. Bob Fincher (R-Rocky Branch) and 19 co-sponsors to void the federally-driven Common Core standards and replace them with the standards that were in place before they were implemented. It would have created a committee in charge of the development of new independent standards for the future, and banned the state of Alabama from entering into any sort of partnership that would outsource local and state control over education to a foreign entity. Sen. Rusty Glover (R-Semmes) introduced a companion bill in the Senate, SB60, containing many of the same provisions. Neither bill could gain any traction. HB264 never made it out of the House Education Policy Committee because Chairwoman Terri Collins (R-Decatur) refused to schedule it for a vote. SB60 never made it out of the Senate Education and Youth Affairs Committee because Chairman Dick Brewbaker (R-Montgomery) refused to schedule it for a vote.
Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) introduced SB378 to set common sense restrictions on the use of drones by both public employees and private individuals in the state of Alabama. It would have banned the unauthorized use of drones over certain protected areas including petroleum refineries, water treatment plants, and electronic control centers. It would also banned the private use of drones in ways that impede roadways, law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical personnel, and other posts engaged in “the lawful discharge of his or her official duties.” It would have banned government officials from engaging in warrantless drone spying unless the private individual gives prior written consent, with the exception of certain emergency circumstances. Individuals who have their rights violated would have been able to sue for the redress of their grievences. Unfortunately, SB378 never made it out of the Senate Transportation and Energy Committee because Chairman Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa) refused to schedule it for a vote.
LICENSE PLATE READERS
Rep. Laura Hall (D-Huntsville) introduced HB210 to generally ban the use of ALPRs on public highways. The proposed law would have allowed the use of ALPRs to collect data for planning purposes as long as the agency using the technology maintains the anonymity of the driver, the vehicle itself and any passengers inside. It would have also allowed the use of an ALPR to regulate parking and for the enforcement of laws relating to commercial vehicles. Most importantly, the passage of HB210 would have prevented the state from creating permanent databases using information collected by ALPRs, and would make it highly unlikely that such data would end up in federal databases. HB210 suffered the same fate as the rest of the bills. It never made it out of the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee because Chairman Randy Wood (R-Anniston) killed by the bill by never scheduling it for a vote.
Although the state of Alabama has let many chances to push back against federal overreach fall through their grasp this year, hope is not lost. The legislators who refused to uphold their oath to the Constitution and killed these bills are now more vulnerable than ever. Remember to alert your community about who is jeopardizing your rights. From that point, the legislature can be remade with individuals with the backbone to protect your freedoms through nullification.
The process can be a long, hard and ugly one, but it can pay off. Many of the states that are currently passing several nullification bills each year were in Alabama’s situation not too long ago. However, activists in those states steadfastly refused to give up and successfully pushed their legislators to do the right thing. That is the future that Alabama can achieve, but it is going to take some determination to get there. Will you join us and help make it happen?