Protecting Children by Holding Clergy Accountable

House Bill 125 passes the Alabama House of Representatives. This bill, if it also passes the Senate, would make it unlawful for clergy in a position of trust or authority over a person to commit certain sex acts with an individual under 19 years of age, or a protected person under 22 years of age. Currently the age of consent is 16. This also brings the law for clergy equal to the law for public and private school teachers. We are thankful to Representative Leigh Hulsey for her work and Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter for his leadership on this issue.

Alabama Supreme Court Ruling on IVF Embryos

From a Mobile court case (LePage v. Mobile Infirmary Clinic, Inc.) that went to the Alabama Supreme Court, it has been ruled that an embryo created through in-vitro fertilization (IVF) is a human person protected by Alabama’s wrongful death act and the Alabama Constitution. This affirms the biblical and scientific stance that life in the womb is human, no matter the stage of development. This is affirmation for the Pro-Life community, but it comes with certain practical complications. For example, what does this mean for the future of IVF in Alabama? What about the many embryos that have already been created and are currently in storage? Attorney Eric Johnston discusses the matter here and ALCAP President Greg Davis here.

Church Freedom

House Bill 128, sponsored by Rep. Mark Gidley, concerns churches and their property. Currently, churches can face restrictions if their building(s) are deemed “historic” by their local municipal historic preservation commission. If this bill becomes law, it gives churches the freedom to decide voluntarily whether they desire the designation of “historic,” thus giving autonomy over church-owned property. HB128 passed its House committee and awaits a vote on the House floor.

Task Force Does NOT Recommend Permitting RTDs to Be Sold Alongside Regular Beer

At the end of the 2023 Legislative Session, Gov. Kay Ivey assembled a Mixed Spirit Beverage Task Force. This group was responsible for looking into the issue of ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages––also informally called “cocktails in a can”––and discussing the viability of selling these drinks in places that also sell regular beer, ultimately with the goal of recommending legislation.

(For a refresher on this issue from last year: These drinks are dangerous because they have an alcohol-by-volume content of up to 12.5 percent. That’s the equivalent of about three beers. Someone who drinks two cans of a product with that high of an alcohol content would be consuming the equivalent amount of alcohol that’s in a six pack of beer. The marketing of these drinks is seductive; they look like common sodas. These are just a few of the issues with these drinks. During the 2023 Legislative Session, Greg Davis spoke at multiple public hearings and was instrumental in helping two pro-RTD bills in the Senate not to pass.)

The Task Force recently returned with its research results, and it does not recommend that these RTDs be sold alongside regular beer. These drinks should remain under the control of the Alabama Alcohol Beverage Control Board (ABC). There are many reasons given, such as the high alcohol concentration and the danger of incidentally marketing to minors. Attached below are the findings and opinions of the Task Force.