The General Fund Committee meeting was cancelled today – not sure why but it may have had something to do with Newt Gingrich holding a press conference at a downtown hotel today. I did not attend. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Gingrich, and Perry and Cain when they were still on the trail. I’ve not met Romney or Santorum. I encourage everyone to vote, once, next Tuesday for the remaining candidate of their choice. For those wondering, I’m endorsing the Republican nominee, whoever that may be.
I attended a lunch with the Madison County Chamber of Commerce where Governor Bentley spoke. He bragged a good bit on North Alabama. He’ll be touring the storm affected areas in Limestone and Madison Counties tomorrow. Unfortunately we are in session and I will be unable to attend. I shared with him how important it was to those affected by the storms that he is taking the time to visit with them and follow up on clean-up and rebuilding efforts.
My next meeting was at 1 PM in Senate Judiciary where, after some wrangling on the language for a bill addressing possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, we decided to carry the bill over to the next meeting.
I then had a bill in a House State government Committee concerning emergency contracting. We were successful in moving the bill and, like the earlier bill for the National Guard; it is positioned to move through the House and across the street to the Governor.
I finished the evening out meeting with a group from Huntsville Leadership Class 25. Several members of the Madison County Delegation were able to meet with the group along with Speaker Hubbard. We had a great question and answer period and I truly enjoyed meeting with everyone.
A bill of special mention that passed out of the Senate Health Committee today is SB198 by Sen Figures. This bill prohibits smoking in places of employment, public places and private clubs and outdoor areas. I’m told this bill was heavily amended in committee so I’ve not seen the final product (and cannot share a link to the most recent bill yet) but I am concerned. I do not smoke and really avoid being around smoking but, simply put, I choose to spend my money in places that do not allow smoking – others, don’t.
Following is from SB198: The Legislature finds and declares that the purposes of this act are to protect the health and welfare of the public by prohibiting smoking in public places and places of employment and to recognize that the need to breathe smoke free air takes priority over the desire to smoke.
I truly dislike the smell of cigarettes but – cigarettes are not illegal. I know I’m going out on a limb here but why must we continue to chip away at the legal rights of a group that chooses to smoke? Should we make cigarettes illegal? Should we remove the tax from cigarettes if we pass this bill? Look at it this way, if the goal is to reduce the number of people who smoke in Alabama, shouldn’t we start relying less on the taxes collected from those who smoke, now? Just a thought.
The Senate goes into session tomorrow morning, bright and early at 0800 – could be an interesting day…
Semper Fi - Bill