It’s that magical time of the year when members of the state legislature are readying for “session.” To the uninitiated that’s the time of the year when they get to pass laws and have lobbyists rub them with exotic oils. (Not necessarily in that order. Actually, not in that order at all most of the time.)
Assuming one’s legislator is actually attending this “session” — and that’s been quite an assumption when it comes to some people over the past few years — he/she may be busy pre-filing a few bills just to get the jump on the rest of the schlubs who think they’re going to just waltz in during the middle of things and roll through that ridiculous bill legalizing cock fighting as long as there’s a little rooster present dressed in a referee outfit.
The smart lawmakers go ahead and pre-file bills so others can start getting warmed up to them before “go time.”
There is a list of such pre-filed bills and I thought it might be educational to read through and highlight a few that caught my eye. Fortunately that bit I wrote about cock fighting and rooster judges is just the result of my own pre-filing of several glasses of wine before this column officially kicked off being written. Our legislators won’t be debating anything quite that ridiculous.
That’s not to say the pre-filed House bill that would strictly outline which words may legally be said during an adult-on-adult spanking isn’t any less strange.
OK, I’ll stop.
To my chagrin our legislators hadn’t taken this opportunity to pre-file any truly bizarre bills that might make national news for their ridiculousness, but there’s always next year.
However, perusing the list here in the first full week of January, there are definitely a few that stick out — if not for oddness, then probably just for the questionability of whether they would be remotely effective or necessary.
For instance, one senator has introduced a bill requiring cars attempting to pass bicycles to keep at least three feet from the bicycle. Otherwise known as “No One Shall Ever Pass on Old Shell,” should this become law it will effectively make it illegal for motorists to pass any bicyclist who is traveling at 15 mph down Old Shell, or some other skinny road.
Really, who’s going to measure this and also shouldn’t it come with the addendum that any bicyclist hogging up the whole lane ought to be to at least pedal the speed limit?
So you get the drift. Here are some other unusual pre-files:
Senate Bill 15 is particularly interesting for those who would still want to enjoy the benefits of democracy while avoiding the dangers presented by hurricanes or riots. It deals with voting and absentee voting during a state of emergency declared by the governor. It’s good to be able to get the voting out of the way before lawlessness ensues. That’s what I always say.
Looks like a source of funding for some small communities may be on the line with Senate Bill 24. It would rescind the authority of municipalities under 19,000 to enforce speed limits on interstate highways. Gee, I can only imagine why that happened. Giving the patrolman a ticket book and sending him out to the interstate to help pay for the new ballpark may have backfired if this bill passes.
So far there are two new specialty license tags on tap for approval. One would be to honor the Alabama Nurses Association and another would be a distinctive tag bringing attention to ovarian cancer — both worthy causes.
I would still like to see the state go the extra mile and issue the “I love my wife” license plate to really drive the issue home for those men who did something screwed up enough that they were forced to put an “I love my wife” bumper sticker on their cars. What says “I’m sorry” more than taking your humiliation to the license tag level? Just a thought. Still lots of time to get that one in there.
House Bill 5 is one many of us have been expecting for years. It would do away with any criminal penalties for the sale or purchase of domestic animals or fowl between sunrise and sunset. This could finally move us past all the middle-of-the-night chicken buys we’ve become accustomed to over the years. Well, except the ones at Church’s at 2 a.m. Nobody’s stopping those.
And HB 14 is one that should interest Hiawatha Robinson Jr., who was recently arrested and charged with murdering and raping his own daughter, Hiawayi Robinson, 8, last September. If Robinson did what he’s charged with, he should never see the outside of a prison again, but if he were convicted and later offered the opportunity to be released, he might think twice if 14 becomes law.
It would require criminal sex offenders over the age of 21, whose victims were 12 or younger, to be surgically castrated before they could be released from prison. That’s right, they’d have to drop by the chop shop before hitting the streets again. Talk about a reason for not wanting to leave prison.
And HB58 might be particularly appealing to our own City Councilman Fred Richardson, as it would allow him to attend meetings while also jet setting. If passed the bill would allow public officials to attend meetings and to deliberate electronically. It’s a win-win for Fred and the city. He could angrily demand crowd numbers for his precious MoonPie Drop while simultaneously embarrassing Mobile in another city or country.
And I don’t know what kind of chance HB 98 has of passing , but it seems like another battle in the ongoing war between the boll weevil and more “productive” insects. This bill would designate the queen honey bee Alabama’s Official State Agriculture Insect.
It’s just like the queen bee to pull a move like this.
And finally there’s a bill that would allow school districts to educate students about “traditional winder celebrations and offer traditional greetings.” I know, it was a head-scratcher at first for me as well, but then I figured it out.
It has to be about teaching students about Bear Bryant and the Crimson Tide football team. Traditional greetings? RTR.
Let the law making begin.
THE GADFLY BY LAURA RASMUSSEN
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