Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Rep. Kurt Wallace pulls backroom deal to pass a Segregationist (anti-clustering) bill in Chilton County

While ReFORM-AL was mounting opposition for a statewide anti-clustering bill, professed "Christian Conservative" State Rep. Kurt Wallace pulled out the politician playbook and called a trick play.

Random anti-Kurt Wallace Political Ad

This is how they built typically passes to the Alabama Legislature. A bill is introduced and assigned to a committee. There is generally time allotted for the public to become aware of a pending bill. Before a bill passes committee, the public has a right to request a public hearing on the bill at hand. It is a narrow window, but an individual generally has at least a couple of weeks or so to catch a bill as it pops up before committee.

With HB 556, and anti-clustering bill just for Chilton County, the public was literally given a single day’s notice. On Thursday, February 27, 2014, HB 556 was introduced and read for the first time before the house legislature, and was assigned to the “LL” (local legislation) committee. By Tuesday, March 4, the bill had been read a second time and placed on the calendar, and the next day, it had been read a third time and put to a vote. Only 38 representatives voted, all of them “yea,” of course, and 47 representatives were not even present to vote on March 5.

In short, the public was never truly given adequate notice. ReFORM-AL had been checking the Alabama state legislature (“ALISON”) website every Friday during the legislative season, and not a single notice of HB 556 was seen. A bill was literally introduced and passed through the house in five business days, but that a single notice given to those who were to be impacted by these laws.

Keep in mind at this point, once a bill goes before the full legislature outside of committee, the public cannot request a public hearing. The best hope is to attempt to stop the bill by convincing legislators outside of committee to vote against the bill. To be honest, how many people do you think actually read, debated, or consider the negative consequences of this bill?

Could we have stopped the bill in the Senate? Since no one was even aware of HB 556, no one realized that the very next day, the bill was read for the first time in the Senate. The following Thursday, March 13, the bill was read a second time, and on Tuesday, March 18, the bill was read a third and final time and was put to a vote. This time, 21 people voted yea, and three people voted to abstain from voting. It was “enrolled” and sent for the governor to sign.

In total, 18 days had passed between the time the bill was first read in the time the bill was sent to the governor's office, or rather, 12 business days. That is superfast by Alabama Legislature standards.

State Rep. Kurt Wallace has been pushing his segregationist policy for years, all just to shut down a transitional housing program in his home County. This time, he got what he wanted. ReFORM-AL has already received a number of phone calls from individuals negatively impacted by this countywide ordinance. It is amazing how Wallace and his stooge CJ Robinson pushed for this idiotic legislation while admitting that residency restriction laws were the cause of the problem in the first place, testifying that these laws lead people to take advantage of registered citizens.

It seems the “good old boy” network is alive in rural Alabama. I'm sure Jesus is just ecstatic that Wallace has made people homeless in his name. On the upside, Wallace just lost his bid for re-election.

So here is the bill in its entirety. It seems violating the bill is a "civil" penalty. In other words, they will sue you into poverty.

ENROLLED, An Act, Relating to Chilton County; to prohibit certain sex offenders from establishing residence within a home or other living accommodation with another sex offender; to prohibit certain sex offenders from establishing a residence within a home or other living accommodation that is located on a lot or piece of property where another sex offender has established a residence unless there is at least 300 feet between the residences; and to provide civil penalties for violations.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA:

Section 1. This act shall only apply in Chilton County.

Section 2.
 (a) No adult sex offender shall establish a residence in a home or other living accommodation where another adult sex offender whose name appears on the Alabama Bureau of Investigation sex offender registry resides unless the offenders are married or the offenders are related as ancestors or descendants by blood or adoption, as brothers or sisters of the whole or half-blood or by adoption, as stepchildren or stepparents while the marriage creating the relationship exists, or as aunts, uncles, nephews, or nieces of the whole or half-blood.
(b) No adult sex offender shall establish a residence in a home or other living accommodation that is
located on the same lot or piece of property as another adult sex offender whose name appears on the Alabama Bureau of Investigation sex offender registry, unless there is at least 300 feet between the residences or the offenders are married or the offenders are related by blood or adoption, as brothers or sisters, as stepchildren or stepparents while the marriage creating the relationship exists, or as aunts, uncles, nephews, or nieces of the whole or half-blood. 

Section 3. 
A violation of Section 2 shall constitute a public nuisance. The district attorney may institute a civil action in the Circuit Court of Chilton County before the resident Circuit Judge for the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit against the owner or lessor of the property on which the nuisance exists for the purpose of abatement of the nuisance. The district attorney shall have the right to reimbursement of all costs associated with the litigation of the action, to be paid by the defendant. 

Section 4.

 The court, at its discretion, may assess a civil fine of not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000) nor less than five hundred dollars ($500) against the defendant for each separate civil action. The civil penalties shall be payable directly to the Office of the Circuit Clerk of Chilton County and disbursed evenly among the district attorney's office and the office of the circuit clerk.

Section 5. 
The county commission may develop and implement forms and procedures for the issuing of citations for civil violations and payment of civil penalties to implement this act. 

Section 6. 
This act shall become effective on the first day of the third month following its passage and approval by the Governor, or its otherwise becoming law.

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