“We need God’s hand of blessing,” Baughn said. “I think we all need to be on our knees praying. I definitely ask that you pray for me.”
Baughn said the recent Chick-fil-A controversy was the catalyst for opening the speech with a discussion on religion.
“I feel like I’m seeing the dismantling of America’s Christian heritage,” Baughn said. “I firmly believe like Benjamin Franklin said that God governs in the affairs of men.”
Baughn said he considered his second year in office as a successful one. He said many new jobs have come to Alabama due to the focus of the Republican-led Legislature.
“Our slogan is ‘Alabama is open for business,” and I think that has been evident in this area as well as across the state,” Baughn said.
The recent announcements of Amtex expanding their facility in Jasper and Walter Energy investing $1 billion for a mine operation in Tuscaloosa, Walker and Fayette counties were two local projects mentioned by Baughn.
“When city, county and state government works together, projects like those can happen,” he said. “That’s what happened with both of those projects.”
Baughn also gave Rep. Bill Roberts (R-Jasper) much of the credit for the mine project.
“Bill Roberts sponsored the coal incentive bill that brought that mine to Alabama. He worked hard on that bill, and he got it done,” Baughn said.
Another bill Baughn highlighted during Monday’s speech was a new law that would allow non-violent inmates to work outside their cells.
He said the bill would allow those inmates to have jobs, and the money earned would pay off any restitution they owed, also go to support their families and some would even be placed into a savings account to be used when they are released from prison.
“I saw that bill as nothing but positive, but the Democrats did fight us on that one,” Baughn said. “I’m not sure why they were fighting over it.”
Baughn also mentioned another new law dealing with inmates that prohibits inmates from having an active social media account.
“We don’t need inmates having Facebook pages,” he said.
The state’s new ban on texting while driving started on Aug. 1, and Baughn said he thinks the law will serve as a deterrent.
“You are 10 times more likely to have an accident while you are talking on the phone. I’m not sure how much more likely you are to have an accident while you are texting,” Baughn said.
Former Rep. Tommy Sherer, a member of the Kiwanis Club, said he would like to see a distraction bill brought up in the future, which would make it illegal for any driving distraction, such as texting, putting makeup on or reading something while driving.
“I think a distraction bill is a good idea,” Baughn said.
The final bill mentioned by Baughn was a looting bill in response to the tornadoes of April 27, 2011.
“I was proud of that bill, because I was in Cordova after the tornadoes and watched a person picking up pieces of metal and putting them in a trailer,” Baughn said. “That wasn’t his stuff to take. If people wanted to be down there, they needed to be down there like myself and Sen. (Greg) Reed. We were there with chainsaws working. We did see one person who wouldn’t allow looters by sitting on their property with a shotgun.”
Baughn currently represents areas of Tuscaloosa, Walker and Winston counties.