State still behind in LGBT protection as lawmakers return to Montgomery, LGBT group says

January 11, 2018

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

As lawmakers make their way back to Montgomery for the Legislative Session this year, a branch of the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization says Alabama is still far behind in its protections for LGBT people.

The State Equality Index, an annual comprehensive report released by the Human Rights Campaign rating each state’s laws and policies that affect LGBTQ people and their families, recently placed Alabama in the “High Priority to Achieve Basic Equality” category — the lowest category on the scorecard.

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Discrimination: We still don’t know what it is

April 25, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

Some people seem to be confused about what constitutes discrimination.

Bill Hightower is one, which is unfortunate, since he’s a State Senator in Alabama and should know better. Rich Wingo is another who’s confused, and that’s just as unfortunate, since he’s a State Representative.

Both Hightower and Wingo are sponsors of the same bill – one that would, to hear them tell it, prevent discrimination against faith-based adoption agencies.
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Bill allowing adoption agencies to discriminate is all that’s wrong with Alabama government

February 23, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

In order to prevent discrimination, we need to discriminate.

That seemed to be the message Wednesday morning in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee meeting, as Sen. Bill Hightower pushed a bill that would purportedly protect religiously-affiliated adoption agencies from discrimination by the State.

Or to put that another way – a way Hightower repeatedly refused to say out loud – the bill allows Christian adoption agencies that don’t want to place children with gay couples to do so without facing a loss of their State licenses for discrimination.
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Committee Supports Bill Protecting Religious Liberties of Faith Based Adoption Agencies

February 23, 2017

By Brandon Moseley

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 the Senate Health Committee gave a favorable report to Senate Bill 145 sponsored by Senator Bill Hightower (R from Mobile). The Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act would prohibit state bureaucrats from discriminating against child care service providers who due to their closely held religious beliefs do not place children with households engaged in same sex sexual conduct,

Sen. Hightower said, “The bill as you read it is pretty straight forward.” Adoption is a great thing and the more channels for adoption the better. I am sorry that this bill is contentious but there is a concern that agencies are not going to let some of the placing agencies continue to operate. 70 percent of the children that are adopted do not go through a state based agency. Just 30 percent of children that are placed for adoption go through faith based agencies. Some people say that what I am saying is totally ridiculous, but I want to allow them (the faith based adoption agencies) to continue to prosper. I don’t want to force faith based placing agencies to choose between violating their core beliefs or going out of doing adoptions.
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“Religious Liberty” bill gets favorable report

February 14, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Wednesday, February 7, 2017, the House Health Committee gave a favorable report for HB24 which would protect the freedom of religiously affiliated adoption agencies to refuse to place a child with same-sex parents.

House Bill 24 is sponsored by Rep. RIch Wingo (R-Tuscaloosa). Wingo told the committee that his bill is about religious liberty and freedom. “It does not prohibit gay or lesbian couples from adopting or fostering a child.”
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The coward’s way

January 30, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

Know a sentence you never hear anyone say?

“Boy, that discrimination really worked out for us.”

Think about it. Thousands of years of discrimination based on race, age, religion, gender, sexual orientation and heritage, but no one ever looks back on any of it and thinks about how great it all was.

That’s especially true in the US.

No one ever fondly remembers the time we turned away Jewish refugees trying to escape Hitler. Or happily brings up the days when whites used to not drink from the same fountain as blacks. Or tells their kids bedtime stories about the days of locking up Japanese-Americans in camps.

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Unpacking Black Districts May have Little Effect on Legislature

January 23, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Friday, January 20, 2017 a three judge federal court panel ruled that the state of Alabama violated the U.S. Constitution when it drew three Alabama Senate Districts and nine House Districts following the 2010 census and are barred by the court from using those districts as presently drawn in future elections. This means redistricting now become a major task for the legislature during this 2017 session. The current House and Senate were elected using these districts. All of the 12 districts are held by Democrats. Read More

Legislators gear up for Session, State still far behind in LGBTQ protections

January 5, 2017

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—The Alabama Legislature will convene in little more than a month. As lawmakers continue prefiling bills and preparing for the 2017 Legislative Session, a new report from the Human Rights Campaign shows Alabama still lagging behind in LGBTQ protections.

The State Equality Index, an annual comprehensive report released by HRC rating each state’s laws and policies that affect LGBTQ people and their families, recently placed Alabama in the “High Priority to Achieve Basic Equality” category — the lowest category on the scorecard.

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Driver’s license committee continues work as USDOT reaches settlement

December 30, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Montgomery—An Alabama House Committee has been reviewing the process and procedure of obtaining a driver’s license in Alabama. The committee said in a statement that the agreement announced on Wednesday, December 28, 2016 between the State of Alabama and the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) underscores the important work undertaken by the House Interim Committee on Driver’s License Review. The committee is tasked with finding ways to reduce wait times and find methods for making driver’s license offices more accessible to all Alabamians. The committee has held meetings across the state since it was established by a House Resolution co-sponsored by 56 Republican members. Read More

USDOT ensures equitable access to driver license offices

December 29, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Wednesday, December 28 2016, US Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced that USDOT had reached an agreement with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) to ensure that driver licensing services in the state will be available to all residents, regardless of race, color or national origin, in compliance with Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This follows a twelve month investigation by USDOT. Read More

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