Legislation often is proposed because lawmakers want to draw attention to themselves, puff up their reputation or challenge their opponents and dare them to oppose their idea.
In other words, politics.
So it's refreshing to see legislation being written the way legislation should be.
Alabama law enforcement had a problem. Under state law, second-degree burglary is committed "when a person unlawfully enters a lawfully occupied residence with intent to commit a theft or felony inside." Well, that should be illegal.
The problem, however, is that "lawfully occupied" is interpreted to mean the homeowner is home. So burglars wait until the homeowner leaves and then break in.
If the burglar is caught, the crime is considered third-degree burglary and the punishment is considerably less harsh. The milder the penalty, the more willing burglars are to take the chance.
The Alabama Fraternal Order of Police legislative committee recognized the problem and came up with a plan to change the law so that it would read that if someone "enters a livable dwelling-house whether occupied or not with intent to commit a theft or a felony therein," it would be second-degree burglary. The committee asked Rep. Randy Wood, R-Anniston, to review their idea and prepare a bill that would address the problem.
Wood did just that, and the bill will be introduced in the Legislature soon.
This page urges our representatives and senators to support the measure. ...
Little fanfare or hype. A problem recognized and a problem addressed. ...
A lot of stuff gets bandied about in the Legislature in every session, but Alabama lawmakers really have only one ironclad, inescapable obligation — passing the two state budgets for the coming fiscal year. All else is secondary, for without passage of the General Fund and education budgets, everything grinds to a halt because the state has no legal authority to spend money once the current fiscal year ends.
Given that, the budgets obviously deserve the most attention from the Legislature and should be addressed before other, lesser matters take up the time of the House and Senate. Alabamians have long understood this and have seen too many sessions of the Legislature end with passage of one or both of the budgets late on the last night in a fog of fatigue and confusion, with most lawmakers not really knowing what the budgets contained. ...
Sen. Dick Brewbaker, R-Pike Road, has offered another amendment that ... would establish an annual regular session of 20 meeting days with 60 calendar days, during which "legislation of any nature" could be considered, except for appropriations bills — the budgets — and other fiscal legislation such as bond issues or tax proposals.
That session would be followed by a budget session of 10 meeting days within 45 calendar days. ...
It's an appealing idea that deserves serious debate. ...
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