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Galliher Offers Alternative “Meth” Bill

Bill Britt



By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Report

Just a week ago, HB88 passed out of the Alabama House Health Committee, the bill was designed to drastically curtail the availability of the key chemical ingredients found in methamphetamine, commonly called, “Meth.” The bill would make these chemical obtainable only by a doctors’ prescription. The problem for some critics and consumers is that these are the active ingredients in the world’s most popular cold and allergy medicine such as Sudafed, Allegra D, TheraFlu, Zyrtec-D and Claritin-D.

On Monday, Rep. Blaine Galliher (R-Gadsden) filed a bill that would severely restrict the sale of these products but stop short of making them prescription-only medicines.

The former bill has had the endorsement of some in law-enforcement. Galliher says he has been a long-supporter of law enforcement and acknowledges that there are those in the field that have advocated for the prescription-only bill.

“I want to give law enforcement every tool we can to help them fight illegal use but also allow the consumer the opportunity to purchase this medicine without having to have a prescription to receive their sinus and cold medicine,” said Galliher.

The Commander of the Etowah County Drug Task Force, Rob Savage, says he believes this bill gives law enforcement many of the tools they have been needing to fight this heinous crime adding, “I believe this is a commonsense approach, that also strengthens our ability to fight this crime.”

Galliher said that six years ago the legislature enacted a law that tracked and restricted the sale of Oxycontin, a prescription narcotic that has been widely abused in the state and county. “We fought that battle and implemented the tracking, but still today we are fighting that drug,” said Galliher.

Galliher, who along with his pastor, were successful in opening a drug treatment facility for women in his district has a hands-on knowledge of addiction and it devastating effects on lives. “Sadly, with all the safeguards we put in place, Oxycontin is still abused today.”


Galliher says he wants to make it difficult for abuser to get the ingredients for making meth but find a balance they does not raise the cost and inconvenience lawful users of allergy and cold medicines.

On Tuesday, the BCA (Business Council of Alabama) said in a written statement, “The proposed legislation (HB88) would require individuals to obtain a prescription for products containing common cold and allergy remedies such as pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, and phenylpropamine, in an effort to combat the manufacturing of methamphetamine. While the BCA recognizes the critical need to eliminate meth labs in Alabama, requiring all employees to take time off work to visit their physician to obtain a prescription for common cold and allergy medications would result in increased employee healthcare costs and reduced worker productivity.”

Many business groups have leveled complains against the prescription-only law and have encouraged lawmaker to find a middle way.

Task Force Commander Savage, who serves on the Alabama State Drug Task force, said that the Galliher bill has a provision were by after the bill passage and implemented, that at the end of the first year the state task force will evaluate the success of the bill based by using law enforcement data and then make recommendation to the legislature as to how the law is working and if it needs to be straighten. “This let’s us take logical steps to implement a law that works for everyone,” said Savage.

“I believe this abuse of pseudoephedrine is a terrible thing, it is horrible and destroys lives,” said Galliher, this is why this bill gives law enforcement new abilities to pursue those who abuse the drug in a new and aggressive manner.” Savage says that he agrees with Galliher’s assessment and is thankful that those on the frontline of the drug wars will be better equipped under the proposed law.

Galliher said, “The fact is 95 percent of the people who purchase products made with pseudoephedrine are using it for legal reasons.”

While Savage acknowledges a recent rise in meth labs, says that 90 percent of the meth sold and consumed in Etowah County is smuggled in by the Mexican drug cartels.

Savage says the uptick in meth labs is because of a rise in cost for the imported drugs due to boarder and local interdiction.

Many have pointed to prescription laws enacted in Mississippi and Oregon as models of success of that type of law. Mississippi has reported a 70 percent drop in meth lab bust. However, a report from Cascade Policy Institute, an Oregon free-market, public policy research organization released a study that said, “Making pseudoephedrine a prescription-only drug did not reduce the impact of methamphetamine on the state, and likely caused harm to legitimate cold and allergy medicine users.” The report concludes that, “Meth lab incidents in Oregon dropped at around the same rate they did nationwide, and most of the drop occurred before our Rx-only law went into effect in 2006.”

Alabama is currently using a real-time, stop-sale technology called the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx) to block the illegal sale of pseudoephedrine while still allowing retail sales to legitimate customers. It has been reported that in one year since implementation, NPLEx potentially kept more than $30 million of meth off the streets. Under the new law NPLEx use will be straightened and pseudoephedrine will only be able to be purchased at pharmacies and sold under the supervision of pharmacist.

Bill Britt is editor-in-chief at the Alabama Political Reporter and host of The Voice of Alabama Politics. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.



State files lawsuit against Birmingham for removing Confederate monument

Chip Brownlee



Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall filed a new lawsuit against the city of Birmingham Tuesday for removing a Confederate monument in Linn Park.

Local officials in Alabama’s largest city, which has a majority black population, removed a 115-year-old Confederate Soldiers and Sailors monument in the city’s Linn Park after protestors and demonstrators vandalized it Sunday.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin ordered the monument removed during the waning hours of Jefferson Davis day Monday, a state holiday honoring the Confederate leader.

“This action is a very, very powerful symbol of our city’s desire to move beyond the pain of the past and uniting into the future,” Woodfin said Tuesday, adding that the city would not disclose the monument’s new location due to security concerns and to protect it from further vandalism.

The city paid $1 to remove the monument, Woodfin said, adding that the city council would need to vote on whether to accept public donations to pay off any fines imposed by the state for removing the monument.

One public fundraiser has raised more than $60,000 in a day to support the city in removing the monument.

The monument has been at the center of a years-long legal battle between Alabama’s majority-white, GOP-led Legislature and predominately black local officials in Birmingham.


Marshall filing the lawsuit seeking the $25,000 fine, if imposed, would effectively end the legal showdown over the monument.

“In balancing between the costs of civil unrest versus the costs of a civil fine, I think most would agree with me: the city should pay the cost of that civil fine to make sure that there is not any more unrest in our city,” Woodfin said.

Marshall filed the lawsuit against Birmingham for violating the state’s Memorial Preservation Act, which prohibits the removal of historic monuments including Confederate monuments.

This is the second lawsuit filed by the Alabama attorney general against the city of Birmingham over the Linn Park monument.

The lawsuit seeks additional penalties after the city lost a similar lawsuit filed by the state in 2017.

The Memorial Preservation Act was passed in 2017 by the Alabama Legislature to protect architecturally significant buildings, memorial buildings, memorial streets and monuments located on public property for 40 or more years.

The law effectively prohibited municipalities from removing Confederate monuments.

“The State of Alabama first filed suit against the City of Birmingham in 2017 after the City erected barriers around the monument in Linn Park. In November 2019, the Alabama Supreme Court sided with the State and determined that the City of Birmingham had violated the law and was subject to the Act’s penalties. However, the Court held that any violation of the Act was punishable only by a one-time fine of $25,000 per violation,” Marshall said in a statement.

Woodfin, amid nationwide protests, demonstrations and unrest over the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, said he was willing to pay the fine to remove the monument, directing city workers to remove it Monday evening.

Legislation was filed in the 2020 session that would have amended the penalties provision of the act in response to the court’s ruling, but that legislation failed to become law.

“On Monday, I advised Mayor Woodfin that the removal of the 115-year-old Confederate Soldiers and Sailors monument in Birmingham’s Linn Park would violate the law and that I would fulfill my duty to enforce it,” Marshall said.

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Third patient at state’s Mary Starke Harper Geriatric Psychiatric Center dies from COVID-19

Eddie Burkhalter



A third patient at the state’s Mary Starke Harper Geriatric Psychiatric Center has died from COVID-19, the Alabama Department of Mental Health confirmed to APR on Tuesday. 

There remained 16 active coronavirus cases among patients at the state-run facility, said ADMH spokeswoman Malissa Valdes-Hubert in a message Tuesday.

Those patients are in various states of recovery, she said. 

Valdes-Hubert also confirmed that the members of the Alabama National Guard are to clean the facility on Thursday. 

Under the direction of Gov. Kay Ivey, the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, members of the Alabama National Guard have since early April decontaminated and sanitized state nursing homes. Guard members also cleaned the Bill Nichols State Veterans Home, which had a serious outbreak of coronavirus, killing more than 20 residents and infecting more than 100. 

Valdes-Hubert said the department is in the process of planning for recovering patients and will release more information when available. 

There were no confirmed cases at ADMH’s two other facilities in Tuscaloosa, Bryce Hospital and the Taylor Hardin Secure Medical Facility as of Tuesday, Valdes-Hubert said.

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Sewell implores Alabamians “to speak out and demand change without violence”

Brandon Moseley



Alabama U.S. Rep.Terri Sewell said that her heart aches for George Floyd and that anger should be directed not to violence but to action.

“The heroes of the Civil Rights Movement showed us it is possible to change history without damaging property and torching businesses that our community members depend on, so I implore all Alabamians to speak out and demand change without violence,” Sewell said. “We cannot let violence distract from the legitimate anger and frustration that we must channel toward action. I pray for both peace and justice.”

Sewell posted a video message Monday in response to protests across the country, which have at some points, turned violent and chaotic. On Sunday, several reporters were attacked in Birmingham, and some businesses were vandalized.

The representative’s video message comes after Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin and Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed also called peaceful demonstration. Birmingham implemented a curfew in response to the riotous demonstrations Sunday evening, but the city also removed a Confederate monument from Linn Park.

“To all those who feel marginalized because of the color of your skin: I see you and I hear you,” Sewell said. “Your pain and hopelessness is legitimate — since the founding of our nation, our criminal justice system has failed our black and brown communities. My heart aches for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and the countless others whose senseless deaths have not made the national news cycle.”

Sewell represents Alabama’s 7th Congressional District and is the only black member of Alabama’s congressional delegation.

“As a daughter of Selma, I myself have struggled to reconcile with the moment in which we continue to find ourselves, over and over,” Sewell said in the video statement. “The Foot Soldiers who came before us fought to create a better future, but every day we are reminded that that fight is far from over. They sacrificed their lives in pursuit of an America that lives up to its ideals – an America that we have not yet reached more than 55 years later.”

Sewell said the racism that causes pain can be seen plainly in police brutality and in the staggering health disparities black communities have endured before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.


“It can be seen in thinly-veiled attempts to put African Americans in our place, holding on to and idolizing a time when our bodies were not our own,” she said. “And it can be seen in the state-sanctioned holidays and monuments that honor the leaders of the Confederacy, including today, ‘Jefferson Davis Day.’”

Sewell said she also knows that the vast majority of Americans across the country and in Birmingham are peacefully protesting for social justice.

“I wish I had all the answers and I could give us all the solutions we need,” Sewell concluded. “For now, I promise that I will work tirelessly to do absolutely everything within my power to bring peace and justice to our communities.”

“My Administration is fully committed that for George and his family, justice will be served,” President Donald Trump said on Monday. “He will not have died in vain. But we cannot allow the righteous cries of peaceful protesters to be drowned out by an angry mob.”

Floyd was killed while being arrested by the Minneapolis Police Department on suspicion of counterfeiting. The police officer who killed Floyd has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Activists say more widespread reform of policing and the criminal justice system needs to happen, and the other officers involved in Floyd’s homicide should also be charged.

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ACLU of Alabama backs right to protest

Eddie Burkhalter



The ACLU of Alabama in a statement Tuesday expressed support for the Constitutionally protected right to protest and called for an end to racist policing. 

“We support protesters in Alabama and across the nation who are expressing their grief at the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and all of the many Black men, women, and children who have been killed at the hands of police,” the statement reads. “We stand with those who are demanding justice from a system that has both historically abused and too often abuses Black communities to this day. Black people should not live in fear of being shot and killed by the police.

The ACLU said these times of unrest compel us to examine what will make our communities safer and more equitable.

“Police, sheriffs, and other government officials have discretion in how they use their time and resources,” the organization said in their statement. “Now is the time to question how they use that discretion around the role that law enforcement possesses in our communities, especially given the disproportionate harm inflicted upon communities of color, particularly Black communities, caused by enhanced militarization of law enforcement in this country. We cannot effectively address police violence without completely reimagining the role of police.  We must significantly reduce the responsibilities and presence of police in the everyday lives of people in heavily policed communities. We will not rest until there is an end to racist policing.”

“The ACLU’s commitment to ending racist and violent policing goes back decades, from confronting the police violence that fueled protests in Los Angeles, Detroit, and Newark in the 1960s, through Ferguson. Sadly, those efforts  have not worked. We must do more.

“Rather than spend taxpayer dollars on enforcing restrictions on the constitutionally protected right to protests, police and government officials should focus on seeking justice and holding themselves accountable to the people they are supposed to protect and serve.”

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin on Monday declared a state of emergency and enacted a city-wide curfew after a peaceful protest Sunday turned violent early Monday morning. 

Protests across Alabama on Monday were peaceful, with few arrests reported, according to news accounts.

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