The legislative session is getting interesting.
This week the House failed to pass the Budget Isolation Resolution (BIR) that would allow the body to consider a Gourmet Beer Bill permitting a higher alcohol content in gourmet beers such as those manufactured by micro-breweries. Of course, the religious lobby worked to defeat the measure by proclaiming that teenagers would get drunk faster and kill more people on the road if the bill were to pass. I voted in favor of the BIR and support the legislation because I believe adults have the right to drink whatever beer they choose to drink. If we can legally purchase pure grain alcohol, why should beer makers be compelled to limit their alcohol content?
My own legislation – the Alabama Minimum Wage Bill that I have authored and am sponsoring – will be considered in the Commerce Committee at 9:30 on Wednesday. I am holding a press conference and rally on Tuesday, April 10th, at 11 am on the steps of the State House. I invite you to come and encourage everyone to try and make it. Show your support for working folks in our state! I don’t know if we have the votes to get the bill out of committee, but I am committed to continue pushing this bill through the process. This bill is good public policy.
Next week we begin a 3 day full Session week, a bit different than our usual Session Day–Committee Day–Session Day schedule. In addition, Republican Presidential Candidate Rudy Giuliani will be addressing a joint session of the Legislature at 1:30 on Tuesday. Come join in the fun! This Tuesday’s going to see lots of activity!
I am really enjoying my time in Montgomery. It is amazing the number of lobbyists that line the hallways, always wanting a second of your time to talk about a bill. And while just the word lobbyist can sometimes evoke a vision of big money and special interests, I think it’s important to remember those who tirelessly lobby on behalf of those with little or no money and those who are without a voice and marginalized within our communities. To this end I am impressed with the efforts of Alabama Arise and other social justice groups that continue on despite significant challenges in the hope of truly effecting change and bringing hope to so many.