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Sunday Discussion: 2013 Alabama Legislature Last-Minute Bills

Geek Alabama Discussion

There are only three meeting days left in the 2013 Alabama Legislative session.  And I wanted to write this post to talk about some of the bills I want to see passed before the session wraps up.  If there is any indication, Alabama will once again become the laughing stock of the country because the Alabama Legislature failed to pass some common sense bills.

HB 188 : Veterinary Practice Act

Sadly, this bill is still in the news.  If the legislators had any common sense, this bill would have passed already!  The bill has passed the house and is awaiting action in the senate.  This bill legitimizes and legalizes non-profit veterinary clinics in the state of Alabama.  And it allows veterinarians practicing in non-profit clinics to practice high quality medical care without restriction on the day of their surgery.  Recovery times, medications needed, and the like are all up to the veterinarian who performs the surgery.  This bill would be great for Alabama.  But some people wants this bill to go down in flames.

The Alabama Veterinary Medical Examiners Board is wanting to kill HB 188 because SB 25 has been killed.  Here is a piece of a statement they sent out.

So, since the best legislation for pets, vets and citizens has been buried in the committee wasteland, we are left with no choice but to play the game of politics to prevent further damage being done to this profession. The only way to salvage some degree of victory this session is to put all efforts into killing HB 188.

Every veterinarian in the state of Alabama who values what this profession is, who wants to see it continue to be a proud profession with high standards, and who wishes to pass on a legacy of a quality private practice to a child, or a colleague, needs to contact their senator TODAY and ask them to support Senator Paul Bussman in stopping HB 188.

All evidence indicates that SB 25 will get stuck in committee. We must kill HB 188 in the senate today to stop this attack on our profession.

I have said this before, some veterinarians wants to shut down low-cost spay and neuter clinics so they can continue to charge hundreds of dollars to perform spay and neuters.  This is an issue of some people wanting to be greedy and it’s wrong!  This is my inner geek and nerd speaking.  Us geeks and nerds hates seeing people being greedy.  It’s something we never like seeing and we wish it would stop!  Why do people have to be so greedy and not pay your workers fairly?  What are you going to do with all that money?  Use it as toilet paper?

To learn more about AVRAL and ways to stop these harmful bills go to: http://www.alabamavotesforanimals.org/

Here’s a video I did about this issue.

HB 9 : Alabama Homebrew Bill

The Mississippi Legislature just passed a bill allowing the home brewing of beer.  That means Alabama is the last state in the country to outlaw homebrewing.  There is a bill in the legislature to make homebrewing legal.  But sadly, unless a miracle happens, this bill will die.

The bill would allow those 21 and older to make up to 15 gallons of beer, wine, mead, or cider every three months for personal use.  It would not be legal in dry counties or dry cities. Those convicted of felonies would not be allowed to homebrew.  This is one of those common sense bills that needs to pass.  But it’s not stopping ALCAP who are a nonprofit lobbying organization backed by churches from opposing this bill.  So let’s get this straight, some churches wants to keep Alabama in the dark ages, right?

HB 462 : Alabama Payday Loan Bill

The payday loan industry is big in Alabama.  Did you know that interest rates for payday loans approach 456 percent?  The payday loan bill would reduce the fees that can be charged from $17.50 per $100 borrowed to $12.50 per $100 borrowed.  It would prohibit borrowers from taking out more than six loans per year.  And it would establish a statewide database that would track all payday loans.

The rates would be reduced slightly but more needs to be done.  The payday loan lobbying group called Borrow Smart Alabama actually said some payday loan stores would close if this bill passed.  Look, I have no problem seeing businesses that are wanting to help people who needs some quick cash.  But when you charge these extremely high interest rates, I consider it predatory lending.

SB 446 : Alabama Gambling Bill

Gambling has been a hot issue in Alabama.  Every state around Alabama has legalized either a lottery or casinos.  There is now a bill in the legislature that would actually toughen gambling penalties.  The bill will raise the penalty for possession of a gambling machine  from a misdemeanor to a felony.  It also would raise the penalty for promoting gambling from a misdemeanor to a felony if a profit of $10,000 or more was on the line.

Some people thinks gambling is evil and wrong.  But I am here to say that gambling is alive in Alabama and it needs to be expanded!  How many of you bet on football games every fall with your friends or at the office?  How many of you drive to Georgia, Florida, or Tennessee when the lottery jackpot hits a high number?  Alabama will never be able to outlaw all gambling.  It might as well legalize it and tax it so the state can have the funds to provide an education for children.

Alabama Welfare Drug Testing Bill

There’s a very good chance a bill to drug test some people on welfare will pass the legislature.  The bill would require welfare participants who have had a drug conviction within the last five years to take a drug test, along with anyone who welfare officials have a reasonable suspicion about.  This is a bill that I have no problem seeing passed.  But I also wanted to talk about this.

Some people have the opinion that all people on welfare and food stamps are lazy bums who sits around all day and does not want to work.  This kind of opinion is shortsighted and dangerous.  I am on food stamps because no one wants to hire me.  I have filled out over 300 job applications for jobs from factories to fast-food.  No one wants to hire me because this will be my 14th job in seven years and I have a disability, although I never tell any employers about that.  Some people have to rely on welfare or food stamps because no one will give them a chance.  This must change!

I will be watching the Alabama Legislature in the last three working days.  Some other bills the legislature are considering includes a bill that declares “All federal acts, laws, orders, rules or regulations regarding firearms are a violation of the Second Amendment.”  Some bills that also needs to pass includes a bill to license motorcycle drivers, Alabama is the only state in the country that does not regulate motorcycle licenses.  I would also like to see bills that would level the playing field over taxes.  The poor pay much more taxes than the rich in Alabama.  That needs to change!


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