Senate leadership found lacking

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 31, 2005

A long-term filibuster in the Alabama State Senate prevented many needed bills and the General Fund budget from passing in the recently completed regular session.

In fact, several legislative days were wasted with the Senate meeting for less than 15 minutes.

Plain and simple, if the Senate leadership had done the work they were supposed to do we would not be going back into a special session.

While the session ended on a bad note, there were a couple of bright spots in House of Representatives this session.

The first bill passed by the Legislature was the Marriage Protection Act, a measure that I have long-supported. After much prodding during the past year, we were able to convince legislative liberals to drop their objections and give Alabamians the opportunity to vote on this important constitutional amendment.

Support for the amendment signaled a change in attitude among Democrats since many of their caucus leaders were responsible for killing the exact same legislation during last year’s legislative session.

Without the deliberate actions of the Democrat Caucus, Alabamians would have already voted on the issue last November.

Another important bill supported by House Republicans was the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, sponsored by Rep. Spencer Collier (R – Irvington) and co-sponsored by myself among others.

This much needed measure was one step away from receiving final passage before being trapped in the Senate’s legislative logjam.

Currently, Alabama law only recognizes and punishes violent crimes committed against a homicide or assault victim &uot;who had been born and was alive at the time of the homicidal act.&uot;

To protect the most defenseless and precious lives among us, this Republican proposal would change that definition to include &uot;an unborn child at every stage of gestation in utero from conception to birth, regardless of viability.&uot;

Currently, 30 states have laws on the books that recognize the murder or assault of an unborn child as a crime.

It is a disgrace that our conservative, pro-life state does not have such a law on the books while a liberal, pro-abortion rights state like California does. I plan to continue working to help pass this bill into law.

Several other good conservative bills that died included legislation to declare a &uot;Sales Tax Holiday&uot; for the purchase of school clothes and other supplies and implementing a statutory ban on the legislative practice of &uot;pass through pork.&uot;

No one can be proud of a session known more for what it did not accomplish than for what it did, but I plan to continue fighting on behalf of the conservative ideals and sound fiscal policies our party represents.

It just makes you wonder what could actually be accomplished if the leadership in the State Senate had worked liked we expected them to.

Cam Ward serves as state representative for Shelby County. He resides with his wife, Julie, and daughter, Riley, in Alabaster