The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Western Tribune Column February 4 2009

This is my column from today's Western Tribune.

Update: The Michael Phillips Compassionate Care bill (medical marijuana bill), which I mention in this column, will be before the Judiciary committee Thursday. Go to the link to see how you can support this effort. Priscilla Dunn of Bessemer is one of the members of the committee. Urge her to support the bill.

The political arena will be more active than usual over the next few months, as potential state senators scramble for the seat recently vacated by E. B. McClain. And when the special election is over, there may be a vacant state representative or Bessemer Council seat to fill. And if a certain state representative wins, a certain Bessemer council person will most likely run for that seat.

Fruit basket turnover.

Then, this month, Artur Davis is expected to announce his run for Governor. Various office holders, including one who is planning to run for McClain’s seat, have expressed interest in that office as well.

In the meantime, the Alabama legislative session begins this week. Last year, the senate shut down, who even remembers why? What we remember is a group of elected officials putting their differences above the interests of the people they represent.

As of this writing, 216 bills have been pre-filed in the house, and 59 in the senate. This includes a bill that would prohibit the cloning of humans as well as one that would require the owner of dangerous dogs to post warning signs on their property.

Wouldn’t it good to add this: prohibit the cloning of dangerous dogs, and require dangerous humans to post warning signs on their property?

A bill will once again be introduced to outlaw salvia, a little known plant that has even littler effects. As Loretta Nall says, if they want to go around outlawing problem plants, let’s start with kudzu.

Seriously (if the Alabama legislature can be taken seriously) there are some important issues that will be addressed during the session. Budgets and taxes and things like that. Let’s hope the legislators will be big boys and girls and play nice.

A bill that would legalize medical marijuana will likely be introduced. The American Medical Association recommends relaxing restrictions on the medical use of the plant, and science backs this position.

Marijuana is already the biggest cash crop in the state, with almost three times the production value as the runner up, cotton, according to the most recent numbers I found. We might as well regulate it. And put it to good use.

Other bills that should be passed include a hate crimes bill that includes sexual orientation and an anti-bullying bill that would protect kids in school. Our streets and schools need to be safer.

The upcoming weeks promise to be interesting.

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