2 months ago

State Rep. Rich Wingo: Alabama bill to ban abortions could be the key to overturning Roe v. Wade

Think back for a moment to what our country was like in 1973.

The average American income was $12,900 a year. A gallon of gas cost 40 cents. The top grossing movie of the year was “The Exorcist,” and “All In The Family” commanded the highest television ratings. “Tie A Yellow Ribbon” by Tony Orlando and Dawn was the year’s highest charting song.

And 1973 was also the year that the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the abomination known as the Roe v. Wade ruling.
Authored by Justice Harry Blackmun, the ruling stated that an unborn child is not protected under our Constitution, and it magically conjured a new “right to privacy” that did not previously exist.

Only two times in our nation’s history has the Supreme Court ruled a human being not to be person – the 1856 Dred Scott ruling, which denied African-Americans their basic constitutional protections, and Roe, which denied those same protections to unborn children.

In addition, the ruling’s trimester system that determines when an abortion should and should not be allowed is an arbitrary invention that is rooted in the medical, not constitutional, knowledge of the time.

During the 46 years since Roe was handed down, more than 61 million unborn lives have been ended nationwide, and in Tuscaloosa County, which encompasses my legislative district, the roughly 3,500 abortions that take place each year actually exceed the number of live births.

That is why State Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur) and I worked closely with the Alabama Pro-Life Coalition and its attorney, Eric Johnston, to draft and file legislation that implements a statewide ban on abortions in Alabama.
The ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and other ultra-leftist groups have already threatened to file suit if the bill is passed and signed by Gov. Ivey, but part of its intent is to force the federal courts – and the two conservative justices recently appointed by President Trump – to reconsider Roe.

If we refused to consider legislation each time a lawsuit was threatened, our state government could be held hostage by trial lawyers and the special interests they represented.

With liberal states like New York rushing to approve radical late-term and post-birth abortion bills, it is time for Alabama to move in the opposite direction and pass an abortion ban that reflects the beliefs and desires of our citizens.

Just last year, voters ratified by a landslide 60 percent majority a constitutional amendment declaring Alabama a pro-life state, which positions us to take advantage as soon as Roe is reversed. This bill is the next logical step in the process.

Our legislation bans abortions from taking place in Alabama within two weeks of conception, which is the earliest point that pregnancy can be medically determined and the same standard used by a state law allowing someone to be charged with murder if a pregnant woman’s child is killed or harmed during the commission of a crime.

An exception for cases in which a mother’s life is threatened by pregnancy is included in the measure because Judeo-Christian ethics recognize an innate right to self-defense, and while there would be no penalty for a woman seeking an abortion, a provider would be charged with a Class A felony for performing the procedure and a Class C felony for attempting to perform one.

Currently, 68 out of the 105 members of the Alabama House have signed on as co-sponsors of the legislation, and a companion bill sponsored by State Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Range) has also been introduced in the State Senate.

Alabamians have long taken pride in our state motto, which reads, “We Dare Defend Our Rights,” and this bill, this Supreme Court, and this moment in history provide us with the best opportunity to dare defend the rights of the unborn.

State Rep. Rich Wingo (R-Tuscaloosa) has represented House District 62 in the Alabama Legislature since 2014.

11 mins ago

Tommy Battle: ‘Way too early to tell’ if abortion ban is impacting Huntsville

The Human Life Protection Act, which was signed into law last week by Gov. Kay Ivey, has already allegedly threatened economic development in Alabama according to Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin.

The law bans abortions in Alabama, and some have suggested it could have offer obstacles for economic development throughout the state.

During an interview with Huntsville radio’s WVNN, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said he wasn’t ready to say what, if any, impact the law had on his city.

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“From our side, it is way too early to tell,” Battle said.

Battle instead warned of the threat the pending trade dispute between China and the United States could have on the local economy.

Both China and the United States have levied tariffs on one another’s imports, which Battle said would be a topic on his upcoming visit to Japan set to take place next week.

“You know, we’ve got a couple of issues that are up there right now,” Battle continued. “The tariffs are an issue. Looking at the national security side of foreign automobiles coming in and facing a tariff situation is going to be something we’re going to have to have a conversation about while we’re over in Japan because, of course, Toyota and Mazda are going to be producing cars soon. And the tariffs hit them, and the national security side hits them both. I think this is a good time to probably go over and see our industries, and try to make sure we can help them in the ways they need to be helped.”

On Wednesday, nearly a week after Ivey had signed the bill, both Battle and Ivey participated in a groundbreaking ceremony to welcome Y-tec Keylex Toyotetsu Alabama (YKTA) to Alabama, which is a $220 million investment that will bring 650 jobs to Huntsville.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.

26 mins ago

Alabama House passes legislation to combat human trafficking

MONTGOMERY — The Alabama House of Representatives on Wednesday unanimously passed two bills aimed at combatting human trafficking: HB 262 and HB 264.

The bills are co-sponsored by State Rep. Merika Coleman (D-Birmingham) and State Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur). Coleman the assistant minority leader, on the House floor stressed that combatting human trafficking is a nonpartisan issue. She praised Collins and State Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs) for their efforts on the issue.

“Human trafficking is one of the most pressing issues facing our nation. There are more slaves today, an estimated 27 million, than at any point in our nation’s history,” Coleman explained in a statement. “This startling fact shows why the Alabama Legislature must act to combat human trafficking and educate the public about the harsh realities of this growing business.”

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Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal activity in the world, estimated at $150 billion annually. This “modern-day slavery,” as END IT Alabama monikers human trafficking, is happening here in the Yellowhammer State. This is evidenced by the recent trafficking busts at multiple massage parlors in Madison and Morgan Counties by the Alabama Attorney General’s Office.

“I used to purchase gift certificates for my own mother to get foot massages at the very same spas that were shut down,” Collins advised. “HB264 would have required those same owners to display a human trafficking poster with hotline information, which could have led to a quicker rescue. I think the impact of human trafficking is larger than we realize.”

HB 262 clarifies existing law to prohibit publishing photos of those charged with the act of prostitution while allowing for publishing photos of those charged with soliciting or procuring prostitution. This bill is aimed at deterring “John’s” from purchasing sex and supporting human trafficking while protecting potential victims of human trafficking from public identification.

HB 264 clarifies existing state regulations related to the posting of the Human Trafficking Hotline and awareness posters in public places and entertainment establishments by assigning a regulator and increasing fees for non-compliance.

The two bills now head to the Senate, where they face a time crunch to pass before the regular session ends next week.

HB 261, which would require all new commercial driver licensees to undergo industry-specific human trafficking training, was also slated to be passed by the House Wednesday night before the chamber abruptly adjourned over State Rep. John Rogers (D-Birmingham) intentionally killing non-controversial legislation on a consent calendar. HB 261 has the backing of the Alabama Trucking Association and Truckers Against Trafficking.

Coleman and Collins will also introduce a pair of resolutions aimed at combatting human trafficking. The first resolution encourages ALEA to continue developing curriculum to ensure that every officer in the state is trained regarding human trafficking.

The second resolution creates the Alabama Healthcare Human Trafficking Training Program Commission, which is tasked with developing a training module for all healthcare related employees to readily identify and provide trauma-centered care for human trafficking victims.

You can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline 24/7 at 1 (888) 373-7888.

You can also text “HELP” or “INFO” to 233733.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 hour ago

Key rural broadband initiative receives final passage from Alabama Legislature

With the support of a broad coalition of legislators and stakeholders behind it, a key rural broadband initiative received final passage in the Alabama Legislature on Wednesday.

The bill, carried by State Rep. Randall Shedd (R-Cullman) and State Sen. Steve Livingston (R-Scottsboro) in their respective chambers, will allow electricity providers to run broadband using their existing easements.

This is expected to encourage electric providers to invest in broadband deployment and accelerate the cost-effective expansion of broadband access in rural Alabama, in many cases using existing infrastructure.

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This was one of two bills legislative leadership prioritized to grow the state’s broadband infrastructure. The other, a bill sponsored by State Sen. Clay Scofield, would increase the amount of resources devoted to building out broadband in unserved, rural areas. Scofield’s bill awaits final approval from the House of Representatives.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh previously noted the importance of both pieces of legislation.

“These are the two bills that will help us… provide for our citizens, who I believe consider the broadband infrastructure a ‘number one issue’ for the state of Alabama,” he said. “It will have great impact on all of our education… as well as economic development.”

The intent of the ongoing effort is to spur economic development and enhance quality of life for rural areas through greater access to high-speed broadband.

HB 400 now goes to the governor for her signature.

Tim Howe is an owner and editor of Yellowhammer News

10 hours ago

Limestone County portion of Huntsville lands 650 new jobs with $220 million YKTA facility

HUNTSVILLE — Wednesday during a ceremony just a stone’s throw from the location of the Mazda Toyota Manufacturing auto assembly plant under construction, Gov. Kay Ivey formally announced the arrival of auto supplier Y-tec Keylex Toyotetsu Alabama (YKTA) to the state.

The $220 million facility located in the Huntsville-annexed portions of eastern Limestone County will provide 650 new jobs.

YKTA is a new joint venture formed between a trio of Mazda and Toyota suppliers and will produce structural body stampings and assemblies, as well as functional and chassis parts for Mazda Toyota.

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“This is a great wonderful announcement today,” Ivey said to reporters following the event. “Over $220 million investment in a manufacturing facility in Huntsville and Limestone County. This investment is going to bring 650 new jobs for more people to go to work. This is a great day in Alabama.”

Ivey was asked to speculate on potential future parts supplier announcements and if more could be forthcoming.

“I sure hope so because Mazda Toyota is a big facility,” she replied. “They may need some more suppliers. We hope they’ll come. We’re looking forward to having them.”

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and Gov. Kay Ivey at YKTA announcement, 5/22/2019 (Jeff Poor/YHN)

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said he expected to see a boost in the economy as the manufacturing was underway at the Mazda Toyota facility.

“As they come and start producing automobiles, we’ll see more and more come off of this — more and more jobs, more and more for the economy coming off of this. It’s a great day for us.”

He predicted there would be more announcements, but they wouldn’t solely be in Huntsville. They would be scattered throughout the northern part of Alabama.

“The future holds more of these announcements,” Battle explained. “They all won’t be right here. There will be announcements all across North Alabama — down to Jasper, to the tri-cities, over to the Sand Mountain area because every labor pool will be challenged out of this. And that’s the great thing — that we’ll provide jobs for people all across North Alabama, even into South Tennessee.”

During an appearance on Huntsville radio’s WVNN following today’s announcement, Limestone County District 3 County Commissioner Jason Black discussed the announcement of the new venture and noted that the area was “flooded” with similar announcements.

“Just like all the other announcements we’ve had — it’s just fantastic that we’re able to have them,” Black said. “There are places throughout the United States that are looking for businesses to come in and we’re just flooded with them at this time. The Mazda Toyota Manufacturing deal was larger than some people can even imagine.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.

12 hours ago

Last known American slave ship discovered in Alabama waters

The Associated Press on Wednesday reported that the last known ship to bring enslaved persons to the United States has been identified in Alabama waters.

The ship is known as the “Clotilda.” The wreckage was found last year in the Mobile River channel near Africatown and a thorough identification process ended Wednesday.

Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01), who represents that part of coastal Alabama, released a statement, declaring, “This is a significant day for the people of Africatown but also for Alabama and our nation.”

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He explained, “Many current Africatown residents are descendants of enslaved Africans forcibly brought to the United States aboard the Clotilda, including those later freed following the Civil War.”

“We should seize upon this opportunity to help us better understand our complex American history,” Byrne said. “Harry Truman wisely said ‘the only thing new in the world is the history you do not know.’ Let’s use the discovery of the Clotilda to learn more about our history so we can discuss how best we can move forward together.”

The site of the Clotilda wreckage had been sought by historians and scientists for many years.

The last survivor of the ship lived until 1937. Read her story here.

RELATED: Cleon Jones is an Alabama Bright Light going to bat for Africatown

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn