Alabama Legislative update: Armed churches, anti-voyeurism and … a tax hike?
Editor’s note: This is a round-up of the day’s major events in Montgomery.
It’s an election year, and Alabama House Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) said before the start of this year’s legislative session that he did not anticipate any tax hikes.
But that hasn’t stopped one of the Legislature’s most powerful Republicans from proposing a pathway to one.
The big story: The bill introduced by state Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) is not technically a tax increase. Instead, it would authorize county commissions to hold voter referenda to approve increases of up to 5 cents a gallon to pay for road projects, according to Alabama Today.
A similar measure failed in last year’s legislative session.
Under the proposal, voters would be able to see a specific list of projects that the tax would fund. Any tax approved would expire after five years.
The effort has support among local government officials.
“75% of our citizens say ‘yes’ when I ask if they would pay eight cents per gallon more for good county roads. Stipulations: 100% of revenue to be spent on co roads/bridges & that we provide regular project updates. We absolutely would…this is a no brainer! #alpolitics #henry,” tweeted Henry County Commission Chairman David Money.
Stand your ground: A bill to extend Alabama’s Stand Your Ground law to churches advanced Wednesday, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.
The House Judiciary Committee on a voice vote sent the bill to the full House of Representatives. Sponsored by Rep. Lynn Greer (R-Rogersville), the legislation would allow the use of force to defend an employee, volunteer or member of a church from assault, whether on church grounds or in a church-related activity.
“Could we survive without it? Yes, we could,” Greer told the Advertiser after the committee vote. “But it provides immunity. You could defend a child and elderly woman and it would provide immunity.”
The 2006 Stand Your Ground law gives legal protection to people who use deadly force to protect themselves or another person.
Rep. Paul Beckman (R-Prattville) asked if a separate law was necessary, according to the Advertiser. Greer told Beckman that attorneys recommended the new language.
The bill moves on to the full House.
Criminalizing voyeurism: The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill to criminalize voyeurism, according to AL.com.
The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Clyde Chambliss (R-Prattville), referenced two instances in his district someone used a cell phone to take pictures under women’s skirts while they were in retail stores.
Chambliss told colleagues that prosecutors dropped criminal charges because the act did not fit existing statutes, according to the website.
The law would apply to anyone who records images of a person’s intimate areas through, under or around clothing in a place where the victim has a reasonable expectation of privacy.
The crime would be a misdemeanor unless the images were taken for sexual gratification, in which case it could be a Class C felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Tweet of the day:
75% of our citizens say ‘yes’ when I ask if they would pay eight cents per gallon more for good county roads. Stipulations: 100% of revenue to be spent on co roads/bridges & that we provide regular project updates. We absolutely would…this is a no brainer! #alpolitics #henry https://t.co/5Ul3YvW1Ls
— David Money (@JudgeDMoney72) January 31, 2018