MONTGOMERY — The Alabama House on Thursday afternoon passed HB 445 as substituted and amended in committee; this is the anti-rioting bill sponsored by Rep. Allen Treadaway (R-Morris) that would create new crimes and penalties for individuals who incite or participate in riots.
Treadaway, a 31-year career law enforcement officer who recently retired as Birmingham Police Department assistant chief, introduced the bill after protesting turned into violent and destructive rioting, looting and arson for one night in the Magic City this past summer.
The bill has been met with controversy, with Democrats concerned the bill would negatively affect peaceful protesting rather than just riotous behavior. Treadaway has argued that the bill would help protect peaceful protesters from agitators and people who attempt to hijack protests to commit crimes.
“The First Amendment is something I believe in greatly,” he has said.
“I firmly believe that the masses of Americans — black, brown and white — that they don’t want this (rioting) in their city,” Treadaway remarked. “They don’t want folks hijacking a cause. And they don’t want them hell-bent on trying to destroy and burn down their city.”
The House Judiciary Committee approved HB 445 as substituted and amended once on Tuesday on a party-line vote; Thursday’s 74-25 House vote also largely came on party-lines. Rep. Pebblin Warren (D-Tuskegee) abstained. Cloture was invoked by Republicans to break a filibuster attempt by Democrats.
This came after Rep. Mary Moore (D-Birmingham) came to the microphone and was upset that Treadaway was ignoring her attempts to antagonize him. He then revealed that Moore passed him in a State House hallway recently and called him a racist and white supremacist, which echoes what Yellowhammer News reported she said in committee on Tuesday.
HB 445 now heads to the Senate. Thursday was the 16th day of the 2021 regular session. Next week is the legislative spring break.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn