Committee OKs bill to block state funds from being used in sexual harassment, assault cases

February 21, 2018

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

A bill passed unanimously out of an Alabama Senate committee Tuesday would block state funding from being used to pay for sexual harassment or assault claims against state employees and public officials.

If the bill passes, those officials would have to pay out of their own wallets to settle any sexual harassment, misconduct or assault claims.

The Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs approved Sen. Bill Hightower’s bill Tuesday 8 to 0. Hightower’s bill would prohibit the Alabama Board of Adjustment from using state funds to cover such settlements or payments involving any state official — from agency and department employees to legislators and on up to the governor.

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Alabama Senate moves to make “upskirting” illegal

February 9, 2018

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama Senate on Thursday voted unanimously to pass a bill that would make a voyeuristic act known as “upskirting” a felony.

If passed by the House and signed into law, the legislation, sponsored by Sen. Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville, would make it illegal for anyone to take a photo of a woman’s intimate areas by sneaking a phone under her skirt.

“It’s the beginning of the processes of justice for a lot of victims,” Chambliss said Thursday. “It’s a very emotional issue for them. They feel defiled, invaded, their privacy. It may be a public place, but we wear clothes to protect our privacy.”

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Senators vote nearly unanimously to do away with marriage licenses

January 17, 2018

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

Marriage licenses and state-mandated marriage ceremonies may soon be a thing of the past if the Alabama Senate has anything to say about.

The Alabama Senate voted Tuesday to approve a bill that would abolish the requirement for marriage licenses and allow two people to enter into a marriage by signing an affidavit instead of through a ceremony.

The move comes after years of back and forth among some probate judges who have refused to issue licenses at all following the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling recognizing same-sex couples’ right to marry. The judges argued that they didn’t want to issue licenses to gay couples, so they just wouldn’t issue them at all.

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