Your Legislature At Work

This week, the Alabama Legislature passed two bills to address dangerous dogs in unincorporated Mobile County. Yep, that’s how our legislators are forced to spend their time, addressing local issues. The 1901 Constitution prohibited home rule, concentrating power in the Legislature and the rich white power brokers who controlled it. (Over the years, municipalities with the requisite political clout have managed to wrest some limited home rule power from the state, which makes the system confusing as well as inefficient.)

Anyway, the bills call for a constitutional amendment that would permit authorities in unincorporated Mobile County to designate certain dogs as dangerous — even if said dogs have not attacked or injured anyone — and hold their owners responsible for restraining them and publicly identifying them as dangerous. That’s right. A local animal control issue requires an amendment to our already bloated Constitution.

In a not at all surprising twist, Dr. Natalie Davis of Birmingham-Southern College pointed out this morning (as part of her weekly legislative review on WBHM) that an amendment was offered to exempt legislators from the dangerous dog law. I’m stunned.  Really.

3 Responses to “Your Legislature At Work”

  1. Jonathan says:

    Large government strikes again! Unbelievable. Next they’ll be telling us that we can’t own certain types of dogs. And if we want to own those dogs, we’ll need to pay a “sin tax”. Lovely.

  2. Del says:

    OMG, I think you’ve hit upon the salvation for our schools. A pit bull tax! Better yet, make dog fighting legal and tax it! Fighting cocks too! Sure, it’s unpleasant, but it’s FTC (For The Children).

    I must call my local school board representative right away.

  3. Don says:

    Equally or even more insane is that after Mobile County representatives have gotten these constitutional amendments on the ballot, the voters in the other 66 counties can easily defeat them even if every voter in Mobile County votes for them.

    If a majority of Alabamians want home rule, a constitutional convention, recall provisions, REAL reform and accountability legislation, or anything else imaginable, the key to obtaining anything our esteemed legislators refuse to give us is to first demand that they give us Initiative and Referendum or face the distinct possibility of losing all of their power at the polls in 2010. Every concerned voter should contact the two members of the legislature that represent them and tell them to work actively to get Representative Mike Ball’s HB423 passed or face the consequences.

    If Ball’s bill is added to the constitution then voters will have a way to do what the legislature refuses to do while bypassing both the legislature and the governor.

    In 1912 Theodore Roosevelt said, “…..“the initiative and referendum should be used, not as substitutes for representative government, but as methods of making such government really representative. Action by the initiative or referendum ought not to be the normal way of legislation; but the power to take it should be provided in the constitution, so that if the representatives fail truly to represent the people on some matter of sufficient importance to rouse popular interest, then the people shall have in their hands the facilities to make good the failure.”

    I think a majority of Alabamians will agree that our legislature has truly failed to represent the people on numerous matters for far too long.

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