Monday, April 14, 2008

This Week in the House

There are three bills coming up in the House Judiciary Committee this Wednesday, April 16 at 8:45 a.m. that I am asking readers of this blog to pay very close attention to. I am also asking that Alabama readers contact the members of the judiciary committee about these bills.

HB601 - A bill that would require citizens to have a permit for a stun gun. This bill is just plain stupid. Only incredibly stupid reasons have been given for it like this one by a cop. "Chief Deputy Matthew Wade of the Calhoun County Sheriff's Department said requiring permits for the devices would also give law enforcement officers a reason to detain suspects who have stun guns.

Great...that's just what we need...a whole new crime so the almighty police can have more arrest powers. Good God!

Even stupider was the reason given by the bills sponsor Rep. Steve Hurst who said the devices can be used as weapons and requiring permits would help prevent them from being misused. "I don't want them to get in the wrong hands. I would hate to see children or teenagers having TASER parties and shooting each other," Hurst said.

How will requiring permits prevent them from being misused? The government requires permits for firearms but that has never prevented them from being misused. The idea that kids might enjoy getting shocked with 50,000 volts of electricity to the extent that they would throw 'TASER parties' is so absurd that somebody should have thrown rotten tomatoes and eggs at Rep. Hurst when he said it.

So, write the judiciary committee and tell them to vote NO on this bill. Last week after it was debated I spoke with one of the members of the judiciary committee who told me that they were about the only one on the committee against this bill. If there aren't a bunch of letters written and phone calls made on this one then it will pass. We don't want get busy and provide some citizen cover for the good legislator who is fighting for us in judiciary.

HB683 - Criminal charges or convictions for certain nonviolent offenses, expungement of records authorized under certain conditions, procedures. Existing law does not authorize the criminal record related to a charge to be sealed or expunged if the person is found not guilty of a crime or if the charges are dismissed or for a conviction record to be sealed or expunged.

This bill would authorize a person charged or convicted of certain misdemeanor criminal offenses, a violation, or a traffic violation to petition the court in which the charges where filed or in which the conviction occurred to have his or her records expunged, including, but not limited to, arrest records, fingerprints, photographs, or index references in documentary or electronic form, relating to the arrest, charge, or both, and conviction in certain instances.

This is a good bill for many reasons. If you have only been charged but not convicted of a crime then you should have a right to have your name, fingerprints, photos and anything else related removed from the state database. Most companies do background checks and even if you have had your charges dismissed your info is still available. Having a old charge that you were never convicted of pop up on a search could prevent you from getting hired, from getting federal student financial aid, from getting public housing of food assistance and could be very problematic if you decide to travel outside the country.

Contact the members of the Judiciary Committee and ask them to vote YES on HB683.

HB12 - Under existing law, the sale of devices for sexual stimulation is prohibited. This bill would delete this provision.

This bill by Rep. John Rogers would repeal the ban on the sale of adult novelty items in the state of Alabama. Currently you can buy them here but you have to sign a piece of paper stating that the purchase is for a 'medical or other bona fide purpose'. No adult should have to sign anything in order to be able to purchase a piece of vibrating silicone. That's just plain silly!

The state has no business regulating the sale of certain items consenting adults might use in the privacy of their bedrooms. No business at all. The legislature and my bedroom in the same thought makes me cringe. YUCK! Considering that Alabama has one of the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases in the country the sale of sex toys should not only be legal...apparently it should also be strongly encouraged. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals recently struck down a law that banned the sale of these devices in Texas. That ruling also affected our neighbor Mississippi. That left Alabama as the only state in the US with a law banning the sale of sex toys, making us once again, along with lots of help from Attorney General Troy King, the laughingstock of the nation. Not that some of us didn't do a little laughing of our own.....

Contact the members of the judiciary committee and tell them to vote YES on HB12.

Committee contact info

No comments: