Anti-abortion bill on fast track in Legislature

Posted 5/9/19

Let's clean out the notebook ...• I saw a story in Yellowhammer today where Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed, R-Jasper, talked about the anti-abortion bill, which he wants on the floor of the …

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Anti-abortion bill on fast track in Legislature


Let's clean out the notebook ...

• I saw a story in Yellowhammer today where Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed, R-Jasper, talked about the anti-abortion bill, which he wants on the floor of the Senate today. (Looks like he will get his wish - it just passed in committee as I am writing this.) There seems to be a keen interest among Republicans here and in other states to set up a court challenge to Roe v. Wade. It is a shot in the dark, of course, that any of them will be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court, but it doesn't hurt with their constituencies, so they get some benefit out of it. And, to be truthful, many legislator do feel passionately about the issue, and I don't doubt Reed is one of them. 

The biggest drawback has been that it ignited comments by state Rep. John Rogers, D-Birmingham, (not the John Rogers who is Reed's aide) which has caused some national headlines, although I understand how he feels about how children are abused enough these days that one does wonder if we aren't going the long way around. More should be done to protect children - but those comments were so out of line, it wasn't funny. 

By the way, it was interesting that Yellowhammer called Reed "one of the most influential elected officials in the state," and that he is "a leading pro-life advocate and champion." Mind you, Yellowhammer is conservative and has been a little more shrill since Cliff Sims left, but they may be right this time on Reed. He has been perhaps more behind the scenes than Del Marsh, for example, but he has been very effective and popular, apparently. It is difficult to elect legislators to higher office without some exposure in some other offices, so I don't expect a quick rise to governor. (Marsh may have found out he isn't well known despite his power, as he has dropped out of the U.S.. Senate race.) But I can see Reed one day running for a cabinet level office to start rising. Personally, I hope he stays as Senate majority leader as long as he likes, as he has been effective at putting Walker County people in positions and looking after the district in some ways. 

Also, so you know, some of us at the Daily Mountain Eagle plan to be asking our own questions as we try to catch up with our legislators on the session during a visit to Montgomery next week.  

• Since we are talking politics, it has been interesting to watch the Democratic jockeying for position right now, as they have to get the money and get their poll numbers up to be in the debates. Biden automatically shoots to the top, but has so much baggage as well. It still surprises me to see how well Bernie Sanders does in the polls, but President Trump has indicated he would far prefer running against Sanders and accusing him of being a socialist, which he thinks would work better for him. I read Trump is more concerned about running against Biden, which may account for all the tweets he made against Biden recently. (Biden could do better in the Midwest and would certainly do better in Pennsylvania, which Trump needs.) 

Then again, I've been interested about the candidate whose name I have trouble pronouncing, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, only because of hype and the money he has brought in. Frankly, I'll tell you off the bat he is the flavor of the month but has no chance of winning. We can start with being gay - although that doesn't seem to be as big a factor now as it used to be - but more importantly he has been slow to build any organization and he has been slow to take many stands (and what he has has been pretty radical, including getting rid of the Electoral College). While he has tried to reach out to African Americans, and is having trouble drawing them even in predominantly black areas. (This would be due to the police chief incident while mayor, and the fact many Democrats are ready for someone who reflects a more diverse ethnic background.) 

In fact, he seems to be hurting himself a little more. According to CNN, "Buttigieg told NBC that he talks about religion in an effort to convince people to 'stop seeing religion as a kind of cudgel as if God belonged to a political party.' The mayor immediately followed up that comment by adding, 'And if he did, I can't imagine it would be the one that sent the current president into the White House.'" That was probably one statement too many. 

I got a feeling he might be considered for vice president, but I have a feeling old men like Biden and Sanders could wind up with the nomination. If that happens, the enthusiasm could go out of the younger voters. Frankly, I am seeing more and more where Trump might have a path to a second term, as the Democrats really are having trouble figuring out their path with so many hard left, younger voices demanding a seat at the table. 

• It was sad to see Jasper attorney Garve Ivey Jr. being sentenced to prison the other day, as he has been a constant presence in the local legal profession, although some jail time seemed appropriate. Some were surprised he only will serve time in the county jail, but some legal officials tell me that if the sentence went much more beyond a year, he would have gone to state prison. At about a year, the standards say he gets to stay in the local prison. 

• The Airport Road construction barrels are still on the road, at the ready, but we are still waiting for the work to start. This thing will last for months and I am not sure I am in a hurry to see it start, considering I live up there, but it will be good to get it out of the way, as it couldn't hurt in that area, especially at certain hours. 

Actually, considering what times I come through, it has never bothered me too much. The worst comes when I try to get back into the road from the Hobby Lobby side to turn back north to the apartment. Well, exiting McDonald's and crossing Highway 118 is no picnic some days either. 

But we certainly need the road work and I won't complain, really. Sometimes I wonder if it is harder to change the buildings around the roads. I wish something could be done with the old Dairy Queen on Highway 118, as it just sits there as an eyesore. And it dawned on me the other day that the old, large Johnny Brusco signage is still up at the strip mall above Walmart, long after that restaurant left for downtown. So a little delay on Airport Road doesn't seem as bad by comparison. 

• I was glad to be at the Smith Lake cleanup the other day, even if I was out in the sun longer than I planned. (I really need to carry a hat with me to prevent sunburn on my dome.) It was interesting to hear one board member tell me that Walker County needs to promote its side of the lake more strongly. He said during the recent fishing tournament, someone from Cullman was at the weigh-ins and essentially told a Birmingham TV station they want people to think of Cullman County when they think of Smith Lake.

Certainly, after I've done the other recent stories on Smith Lake, I see where Smith Lake need to be promoted prominently for the county, although I think we are doing some of that now for the fishing tournaments and the lake. But we certainly need to be more proactive and not neglectful of that area, which is beautiful but also an economic goldmine for the area in terms of tourism and other benefits. 

For that matter, I would also say the Bankhead National Forest is also overlooked sometimes and needs to be considered a prominent feature that needs to be promoted for the area. We need to have an area wide outlook for such things, which is why I still say we need a state welcome center at the state line coming in on U.S. Interstate 22. Other areas would kill to have ONE out of a lake, a national forest or a U.S. interstate - and we have ALL THREE in this immediate area. We have no idea how good we have it and we need to start thinking of that more.