Legislative Update – Week 5

Week #5 of the Alabama Legislature was one of the busiest so far this 2017 Session and there is much to report, but before I do, I want to share with you important information about this upcoming week. Thursday, March 16, 2017, has been designated as “PRO-LIFE DAY” at the Alabama Legislature. On that day, the House of Representatives will be working to pass several important pro-life bills.

We are coordinating with House leadership, to have a presence inside the statehouse.  We need as many people as possible to be there that day.  People need to call on their House member and sit in the gallery or overflow rooms to watch the debate.  We do not yet know what time the House will begin.  We will let you know as soon as they set the time.  The day is likely to be long, so people need to come anytime they can, they do not need to be there all day.  Please alert everyone in your database and in your church to this event and follow up.  We need to show the House we respect their willingness to move these pro-life bills.  This may be the most important day of the session.  If we do not make a good showing, it will damage our cause.  Thank you for you help.

This past week ALCAP was able to present information on Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) online gambling to two different committees.  The Senate committee indicated they will not act on the bill until it passes the House.  The House committee did not vote to send their version of the bill to the full House on the day of the public hearing, but we anticipate that they will do so, possibly next week.  It is important for everyone to let their House member and state Senator know that they oppose this legislation.  If you have not already contacted your legislators about the Daily Fantasy Sports online gambling issue, please contact him or her as soon as possible.  For more information on DFS, watch the documentary from PBS and click here for the Stop Predatory Gambling’s white paper on the subject.

A bill that would lower the penalties for marijuana use in Alabama was scheduled to have a public hearing, but the sponsor, Rep. Patricia Todd, was ill, so that public hearing has been postponed. ALCAP did speak at a public hearing on a bill that would allow Sunday alcohol sales in municipalities and counties where it is legal to begin at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings instead of the current 12:00 noon start time. Having alcohol available only six days a week is not enough, and now, apparently, waiting until noon to start selling it on Sundays is not enough! (Of course, I’m being facetious!) With no regard for the destructive nature of alcohol, “ Big Alcohol” will not be satisfied until unlimited alcohol (a mind-altering and addictive drug, mind you) is available 24/7 and in every square inch of the state of Alabama. And, consider this: The same will happen with marijuana and gambling. Whenever we “give in” to these addictive “products,” they always want more! And, who
suffers? — We all do, but especially families and children!

We had hoped to work out a compromise on HB277 that would protect children, while also protecting religious freedom and the separation of church and state. HB277 would require church day cares to be licensed by the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR). When Eric Johnston, our legal advisor, and Robin Mears, executive director of the Alabama Christian Educators Association, met with the VOICES for Alabama’s Children representatives and others, no compromise was reached. Though our representatives worked in good faith to solve the problem, some on the other side were unwilling to negotiate in good faith. However, our recommendations have been taken to the legal department of DHR and we are awaiting their response. We hope they will agree with our propo
sals and we can solve this dilemma. However, if they do not agree, ALCAP will join other groups in opposing HB277. We will keep you updated as this process continues.

I beg you to be engaged in our culture! Know what is going on in your own community, as well as the state and national level. Stand up and speak out for everything that is good and
right, and oppose the forces of evil around us. God has called His people to be “salt & light!”

At our annual ALCAP Board meeting on Tuesday of this past week, we presented former state Senator, Hank Erwin, with this year’s “ALCAP Dan Ireland Salt & Light Award.” We are grateful for Sen. Erwin’s service to our state and, since leaving the legislature, his efforts to promote the family-values motion pictures produced by his two sons (such as “October Baby,” “Mom’s Night Out,” and most recently, “Woodlawn”).