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Professor Addresses Common Core Activists

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Saturday, March 7, Dr. Duke Pesta, a University of Wisconsin Professor, addressed a crowd of over 100 at Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Hoover on what he felt were the negatives of the controversial Common Core Curriculum currently being implemented across the state of Alabama.

The event was hosted by prominent Common Core opponents Amie Beth Shaver and former State Senator Scott Beason (R-Gardendale).

Dr. Pesta says that,

“With Common Core there is more indoctrination within texts and less discussion of a character’s morals and ethics. You have lobbyists in the ear of your politicians every day promoting this. The big corporate interest are promising the moon. The Gates Foundation and Pearson are offering grants and Microsoft computers at half price. If this were just about what the people of Alabama wanted you would have gotten rid of this two years ago.”

Pesta said,

“All the information that I give today is meaningless unless you do something about it. The rationale behind this is sociology. This isn’t going to help education. It’s not going to make your kids better at math, at language, or at history it sociologizes it. Even if you think you like the standards, the indoctrination that comes with means that we can’t allow it to happen. We can’t stand for it.”

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Pesta said that the common core people hired an outside committee to evaluate the standards and gave them carte blanche, the validation committee. That committee to validate had only one mathematicians and one English expert. The mathematicians was Professor James Milgram. He said of common core math that it is an absolute joke to think common core math will prepare your child for a career in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math). Milgram said that common core math will set our kids three years behind and we are already three years behind high performing countries.

Common core just refused to acknowledge the arguments of Dr. Milgram and the English expert and wrote them out of the documents.

Dr. Pesta said that,

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“Common core cuts 50% of the literature out of the curriculum. They are pulling out stories and adding propaganda. All the views are one way handed to you from the federal government. Less Charlotte Bronte, less Shakespeare and replacing it with political stuff.”

“Working with textbook publishers like Pearson, they created 400 exemplar texts. Those 400 texts are the only ones associated with the Common Core curriculum. They lowered the overall reading at every grade level 50% more. Students are writing significantly more.”

“Students in Wisconsin were told to write about how the state is like a family and is even better than the family. One of the texts is the ‘Science behind Insulation.’ Science, Math, and Tech subjects replaced literature. There is no questioning of global warming and they are blaming America for it.”

“Another text is ‘The evolution of the Grocery Bag.’ The State of California outlawed plastic bags based on this work. Even White House talking points have been added to the literature texts. Obama’s Executive Order on strengthening Federal environmental standards is one of the texts.”

Pesta said that much of the texts are developmentally and sexually inappropriate for kids. A book by Toni Morrison contains shocking levels of sexuality. That is on the reading list for use by students as young as 8th grade. Black Swan is another.

“Why are they there? There is a reason why we are sexualizing children at a younger age. The purpose is social engineering. Even the reading assignments for third graders are loading and shocking. In one text Dad is having an adulterous affair in Moms bed. Parent are x-ing out assignments and sending them back undone. The older they are, the more shockingly inappropriate they are.”

Pesta suggested they are intentionally sexualizing children to promote conflict and drive a wedge between the parents and the child.

Pesta said that,

“Common Core is removing literature and replacing it with informational texts from the far left. I would not want the informational texts to be coming from the right any more than I would want them coming from the left. The benefits of teaching children classic stories is that it builds imagination and stimulates thought.”

Pesta said that with Common Core, much of what teachers are now doing is now scripted. US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (D) even came out publicly recently and said we have to stop referring to teachers as teachers they are facilitators.

“Teachers have knowledge that they pass on to their students while facilitators are just tools the state uses to pass on information. They don’t create the lessons anymore.”

“There is no evidence that they bench marked this internationally. In Dr. Millgram’s own words common core math is social justice math. It is a simple biological fact that not every kid can do math at a high level. 20 percent of the population are gifted at math, 20 percent struggle and the rest are somewhere in the middle. Common core people think this is not fair. Under common core algebra is not started until 9th grade. If we start Algebra in the 9th Grade we can not get to calculus in high school.”

Common core math makes every kid comfortable with the math they can do. It is more focusing on the process than the results. They put kids in groups of three and they come to an answer by consensus. The actual achievement of math is secondary.

Dr. Pesta said,

“When I took my one math class the math professor told me, ‘You are clearly an English person’ and gave me a C-; but when I was in second grade I was reading on a high school level. What would my life be if I were forced to stay on the level of my peers instead of being encouraged to excel at what I was good at?”

“Social justice dictates that all kids achieve equally. If you have an outcome that every kid can achieve then you are not teaching a high standard. Tell me how it is not socialism?”

“Children have different innate abilities. They are not common. They are not standard. Albert Einstein 80 years ago said you standardize automobiles you don’t standardize children. He and I both failed math.”

“You are prohibited from doing standard math in common core.”

Pesta showed a video of a child demonstrating how the new math works. An 8 year-old girl was given a problem like 1453 plus 1234. Instead of simply turning it into an equation of 1453 + 1234 = 2687 the child demonstrated how she was ordered to do math problems: she drew a big box represent 1000 four small boxes each representing 100, five little boxes each representing 10 and then I I I and then another thousand box, two hundred boxes, three little ten boxes and I I I I …..then she added up her collection of boxes….and got the wrong answer.

Pesta said,

“This is not funny. There is no conceivable way you can ban the obvious way. Common core will not allow you to memorize multiplication tables. You don’t want to make things more abstract than they need to be. This is what is going on. I am not making this up.”

Jason Zimba who is the architect of common core math said in an interview, “This kind of math is not to prepare you for stem careers or for college math.” “I think it is a fair critique that it is a minimal definition for college readiness”

Pesta said that even Zimba acknowledges that Common Core Math is not for STEM It is not for selective colleges like UC Berkley. “This is the lie to the Chamber of Commerce and your business people. The National Chamber of Commerce has taken millions of $$$s from the Gates Foundation. They are also for amnesty and open borders. They want a low skill pool of workers. It is about workers. The Bush kids, the Obama kids will never have to study this your kids will. Do you think Jeb Bush’s kids will ever take this stuff? This is sociology. Why are you creating a math paradigm that does not prepare you for a career in math?”

Pesta said that Common Core texts are selected to break children down morally, to make them more libertine. What the schools mean by tolerant is tolerant of the position of the government not the positions of their parent or the church.

In California they are farther along in this than Alabama. By 6th grade Irvine California kids could not do math in their heads, they could not do multiplication tables so parents started hiring tutors. The schools were so threatened by this they sent home notes refusing to place children ahead who were working ahead of the class. We have lost numerous gifted programs in the last two years.

Dr. Pesta said that David Coleman wrote the American History portion of Common Core and is now rewriting the SATs to reflect Common Core. He rewrote the Advanced Placement tests on history. Over 400 history professors wrote a letter to David Coleman protesting the new history standards with all the inaccuracies. He responded back that facts don’t matter in history anymore.

Pesta said that the new history texts teach that America is a racist culture of imperialism. The new approved text, “Out of Many” has only two 2 paragraphs for George Washington; but 60 pages on Bill Clinton. Reagan gets just two paragraphs as well and says that Reagan is a liar who made up his own history.

The authors even warn that “Conservatives who want democracy and free enterprise presented more favorably are bothered by what they see as left-leaning texts.” And suggests that states not have textbook review boards anymore. Pesta said that the history of prostitution is talked about more than the founding fathers.

Pesta warned that Common Core is heavily involved in data mining. “The federal government built a huge facility to house your kid’s data in Bluffdale, Utah. The desert facility is so massive that it requires 4 million gallons of water a day just to cool the computers. Now that the government controls healthcare everything is healthcare. Numerous government agencies get all the data they collect on your kids. That information is shared with the Department of Defense, labor, Indian affairs, FCC, Social Security, Department of Prisons etc. They are using your schools to collect information about your kids…….Unbelievable.”

Sec. Arne Duncan said, “I think our kids should be open 12 to 14 to 15 hours a day.” They are attaching health care clinics to schools to provide birth control and abortion services in house……without telling the parents. Greenbay provides every kid breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the city schools regardless of income. They won a grant from the Obama administration to continue providing all three meals throughout the summer.

For the last 40 or 50 years our kids have been getting their ABCs and along the way they have been herded left. For the first time the ABCs and 1 2 3s are being subordinated to the sociology.

The teachers of New York are trying to get out of this now. Common Core is teaching abstract thought too early and it is hurting kids mentally and emotionally. The tests have turned kids off from education

“These are people who know exactly what they are doing. Why are your politicians doing it? I no long buy that they are ignorant.”

Dr. Pesta recommended the website: www.FPEUSA.org

Rainy Day Patriots Co-Chair Ann Eubank said that there is an opportunity for Gov. Dr. Bentley (R) to sign on and join Gov. Jindal’s law suit against Common Core. Attorney General Luther Strange (R) is interested but will not sign on unless Bentley does.

Ann Eubank said that she thinks the Common Core repeal bill will get out of the State Senate this year but the difficulty will be getting it out of committee in the Alabama House of Representatives, where the education policy committee is stacked with pro-common core representatives.

Former Miss Alabama Amie Beth Shaver recognized State Representatives Mooney and Matt Fridy who were both in attendance and former State Senator Scott Beason (R-Gardendale) for his role in starting the repeal movement.

Dr. Pesta said that home school is booming because of this.

K. Carl Smith said that We are being demonized. We have to learn that the other side is playing for keeps. Like slave masters did over 100 years ago government is trying to separate him from his job and then you don’t educate him. Become involved in the legislative process. We need people in both parties with the moral courage to tell the truth.

Sen. Beason is now the senior policy analyst for the Alabama Free Market Alliance. He said. “Your legislators are not ignorant of this issue. Even the leadership fully understand this issue; but politics is about fear and power. The leadership of the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) is strongly supportive of Common Core or the legislature would probably have repealed this two years ago. BCA is a direct subsidiary of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.”

The legislators don’t care. They are more scared of money being put into races against them than they are the will of the people. We have to mobilize. We have to have people in every legislative district who are constantly contacting their legislators and contacting other people in their district.

Beason said that we have the votes if we can get it on the floor. If there is a regret I have as a legislator is not using that nuclear option and shutting down everything in the Senate until this passed last year. I thought it would eventually come up for a vote.

Beason said that the bill to repeal Common Core this year is SB 101. The sponsors and cosponsors are receiving calls from pro-common core and BCA people. We need to call them and thank them for sponsoring SB 101

Eunie Smith is the President of Eagle Forum said that the bill itself would repeal common core and replace it with the standards that were in place before common core. Smith said that Alabama can take the best standards from around the country and incorporate them into our own state standards.

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Alabama lawmakers advance bill banning transgender athletes in K-12 sports

Jessa Reid Bolling

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A House committee voted Wednesday to advance a bill that would ban transgender teenagers from playing on the sports teams of the gender they identify with. 

House Bill 35, titled the Gender Is Real Legislative Act, or GIRL Act, would require student-athletes in K-12 schools to participate as the gender listed on their birth certificate, preventing transgender athletes from competing as the gender they identify as.

Sponsored by Rep. Chris Pringle, R-Mobile, the bill passed the House State Government Committee on an 8-4 vote. The bill will now go to the full House. 

The bill, according to Pringle, is aimed at preserving the accomplishments of women and to prevent women from having to compete against athletes who were born male.

“Gender is real. There are biological differences between boys and girls that influence athletic performance,” Pringle said in a statement. “The GIRL Bill seeks to support female student-athletes, so that they may compete against each other and not have to compete against male students with an unfair advantage.”

Opponents say that HB35 was born out of prejudice against transgender youth rather than seeking to protect women in athletics. 

Carmarion D. Anderson, Alabama state director of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), an LGBTQ+ rights organization, called the bill a “political advertisement” with no supporting evidence

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Anderson said she believes this bill will do harm to young transgender youth by segregating them from competing in sports events, further contributing to the ostracization trans youth feel in society.

“We’re concerned about a student’s mental health when they cannot participate in the sports that are comfortable for them, and the level of dysphoria they already face when they are transitioning,” said Anderson. 

Anderson also said that while it is unfortunate that this bill passed the committee, HRC will be at the forefront to try to see the bill defeated. 

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The bill now heads to the full House.

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Legislation may harm pets locked in hot cars, not help, vets and advocates say

Eddie Burkhalter

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A bill passed by the Alabama Senate last week lawmakers say will help keep pets trapped in hot cars safe, might actually endanger the animals, according to some animal advocates and veterinarians.

That bill was written by a dog breeder who some worry purposefully wrote the bill to make it harder to keep animals safe, and to instead protect breeders from having animals confiscated, they told APR this week. 

Mindy Gilbert, The Human Society’s Alabama state director, told APR by phone on Tuesday that she’s certain that the senate bill’s sponsor, Alabama Sen. Jimmy Holley, R-Elba, “does have good intentions, but I think the devils in the details.” 

Several attempts this week to reach Rep. Holley were unsuccessful. 

The bill would grant criminal immunity to a civilian who rescues an animal from a vehicle, and would provide civil and criminal immunity to first responders who do so. The legislation also makes it a misdemeanor crime if a pet dies in a hot car. 

Gilbert said that while those might also sound like great ideas, the bill would actually reduce criminal penalties for allowing a pet to die in a hot car. 

“Our current cruelty statute, which has been used in cases like this, would define that as a class C felony,” Gilbert said. 

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A Trussville woman in 2018 was charged with felony aggravated cruelty to animals for leaving her dog in a locked car while shopping in Walmart. The dog died after police broke out a window and removed the distressed animal. 

The bill also states that the ambient temperature of the interior of a vehicle must be 99 degrees or hotter to be charged under the legislation. 

Gilbert said she’s spoken with numerous veterinarians who all said that 99 degrees is too hot to be safe for pets trapped in cars. 

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Gilbert said that for many breeds of pets, and pets with compromised health, “that requirement in order to rescue them will absolutely sentence them to death,” and there are other aspects of the bill that trouble her. 

“I think everybody was very focused on providing immunity to first responders, which I think is fabulous,” Gilbert said of the legislation, but worried that it doesn’t include animal control personnel in its definition of public safety officials and covered by the bill’s immunity clause. 

Holley’s legislation defines public safety officials as “An individual employed by a law enforcement agency, fire department, or 911 emergency service.” 

Dr. Mark Colicchio, a veterinarian in Spanish Fort, reached out to Sen. Holley and all of the members of the state Senate Judiciary Committee about his concerns with the bill prior to its passage in the senate. Holley put Colicchio in touch with the man he said wrote the bill, Norman Horton.

Colicchio said he spoke to Horton, owner of the Dale County german shepherd breeding company Triple S Shepherds, at length about his concerns, but that none were addressed in the final legislation. 

“There are a lot of temperature references in there which make no sense whatsoever,” Colicchio said. 

Colicchio said he spoke with Horton about the bill’s language that required the ambient temperature of the interior of a vehicle to be 99 degrees or higher before a person could be charged. He said he told Horton that there’s no practical way for a public safety official to measure the ambient temperature inside a locked vehicle from outside, to which he said Horton suggested they call carry digital temperature readers. 

Such devices measure surface temperatures, and wouldn’t  be able to read the temperature inside a locked car, Colicchio said. 

After speaking with veterinarians at Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine Cholicchio said they looked at data that suggested that if the outside temperature of a vehicle, which can be more easily measured, was 78 degrees an animal trapped inside with no ventilation could be in jeopardy. 

Colicchio said he suspects the legislation was purposely written to protect owners from having their animals taken from them in the event they’re left in hot cars. 

“He doesn’t want breeders to risk having their valuable dogs stolen out of the car because somebody thinks they’re at risk,” Colicchio said. “…When you structure a law to benefit yourself, and animals suffer for it, that just gets to me.” 

Horton, speaking by phone Wednesday,  told APR that he wrote the bill to protect animals and to establish the proper way to rescue an animal in distress. 

“This is America, and this is Alabama, and if someone’s gonna be guilty of a crime or charged for a crime then they need to have committed that crime” Horton said. 

Horton said “we don’t need vigilante justice” so he wrote the bill to make clear how best to enter a vehicle if an animal is in need of help. 

Asked how he decided that 99 degrees inside a vehicle was the temperature at which a pet was in danger, Horton said “I got the figure after talking to several veterinarians.” 

Asked which veterinarians he spoke to get that figure, Horton said “that’s immaterial” and declined to name them. 

Horton likened the matter to speed laws, and said while some speed limits are set at 70 MPH, some people, such as police officers, can drive safely at speeds up to 113mph. 

Asked why the bill doesn’t include animal control officers in the immunity protections, Horton said that “it does.” 

Horton pointed to the bill’s language that defines public safety officials as “An individual employed by a law enforcement agency” and said “go to Tuscaloosa. Go to any of the cities around, and animal control officers are employed by the police department. They’re sworn officers.” 

Some animal control officers who work in municipal law enforcement agencies are sworn officers, Gilbert said, but many are not, and in the counties, where animal control is operated as stand-alone agencies, animal control officers are not sworn officers and wouldn’t be immune from prosecution under the legislation. 

Asked why his bill didn’t include all animal control officers, whether they were sworn officers working in law enforcement agencies or not, Horton suggested that it was to ensure owners could be charged with crimes 

“Do we want to charge for the crime when they do something like this or just let them go?” Horton said. 

Horton declined to answer a question about the bill’s language that limits the charge of killing an animal in a hot vehicle to a misdemeanor and soon after ended the interview. 

“It’s not to help the animals,” Colicchio said of the legislation. “That’s the wolf in sheep’s clothing.” 

It was unclear Wednesday if Holley’s bill had a sponsor in the state House. There were no similar bills filed Wednesday, according to the state Legislature’s website.

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Legislature

Senate Committee approves medical marijuana bill

Brandon Moseley

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Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would allow Alabama residents to obtain medical marijuana on an 8 to 1 vote. Senate Bill 167 was sponsored by State Senator Tim Melson (R-Florence).

SB167 would create a tightly regulated network of state-licensed marijuana growers, dispensaries, transporters, and processors. Patients would have to get a recommendation for the drug from their physician. Only physicians who have received the approved training would be able to dispense the cannabis-derived treatments. There would be no smokable products allowed and consumer possession of marijuana in its raw natural form would remain illegal in the state.

Sen. Melson is a retired anesthesiologist who now works in medical research.

“I would not have carried this bill three or four years ago,” Melson said. But there is a growing body of medical evidence that there are medical benefits.

Melson said that while this bill does have provisions for growing and processing marijuana in states there is also, “An option for it to come from outside.”

Melson said that under this bill we will know what is being grown, being processed, and reaches the consumer. The medical association will recommend the training and the education component for the physician. Patients will be issued a medical cannabis card. “The card will not be good in other states.”

Melson said that Alabama dispensaries will not accept out of state medical cannabis cards except one time a year they can get a one-time emergency order. The number of dispensaries will be limited to 34 total. Patients will be allowed to get just a 70-day supply. There is no smoking and no vaping. People in rural areas will have to go far to get one of the dispensaries. There is a, “Balancing act between convenience and safety. There are fifteen qualifying conditions.”

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Rick Hagans is a minister with Harvest Evangelism, which runs Christian rehabs for both men and women drug addicts.

“The gateway that led to methamphetamines and opioids began with marijuana,” Hagans said. “We have found in forty years of work that it is a gateway drug.”

Hagans dismissed the medical benefits claims, “Medical profession said the same thing with opioids. I ask that you proceed with caution and concern. I get tired of burying your sons and daughters,”

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“Thank you for giving us Leni’s Law, but it is not enough,” Christie Kaine said. “I am the Mother of a child with intractable epilepsy. We know from our research that there are other cannaboids that can help with Hardy’s condition, but they can not be used in Alabama due to the level of THC. If Hardy did not live in Alabama he could be seizure-free.

Caleb Crosby with the Alabama Policy Institute said, “It is a real issue and something has to be done about it. Our concern is unintended consequences.”

Crosby said that Republicans, “Run on small government, but this does the opposite.”

“We still have a litany of laws carried over from Prohibition one hundred years ago,” Crosby said. “You will not be able to get rid of all of these regulations and taxes.”

Cynthia Atkinson’s husband was longtime WSFA meteorologist Dan Atkinson, who was also on the Weather Channel.

“Dan had Parkinson’s for ten years,” Atkinson said. “The last five years he suffered from tremendous pain.” He had excellent doctors at the Mayo Clinic and Kirklin Clinic. They did their best.” Dan was prescribed Oxycodone, hydrocodone, lorazepam, and as he got progressively worse morphine. We learned that Israel has been studying cannabis since the 1950s. In 2015 we went to Colorado.” He used patches with 10 mg of CBD and 10 mg of THC. The leg cramps went away. We wanted to bring it back but couldn’t because of the law.

“The opioids and synthetic drugs were racking his body,” Mrs. Atkinson said. Dan passed away in 2017. I can’t help but think that if we lived in another state he could have lived to see his son graduate from Auburn and join the Space Force.

Captain Clay Hammac commands the Shelby County Drug Task Force

“Just because we do not put medical in front of marijuana does not make it medicine,” Capt. Hammac said. Under Alabama law, we already have Leni’s law and Carly’s law and there are cannabis-based medications that have been approved by the FDA.

Hammac warned that this was an “Incremental step toward the decriminalization of a multi-$billion industry. This bill should be before the Health Committee instead of the Judiciary Committee.”

“Law enforcement was never invited to the table to share our experience,” Hammac said of the Alabama Medical Cannabis Study Commission.

“A Harvard medical researcher was brought to the commission and virtually laughed out of the room,” Hammac said. “I stand with our Attorney General.”

Hammac blast the “casual way” that this has been handled.

“The reason this is before the Judiciary Committee instead of the Health Committee is that this is the most deliberative thorough committee in state government today,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) said. “That nature of the people on this Committee is why this is here.”

“The State has no authority to usurp federal law,” Hammac said.

“I want to make sure that everybody understands where I come from,” Dustin Chandler said. “My daughter Carly obtained CBD oil through Carly’s Law. My daughter was able to get relief through the CBD oil. Studies show that medical cannabis has medical benefits for many people.”

Lori Herring said, “I have been a nurse for 30 years.”

Herring said that the American Academy on Pediatrics opposes the legalization of cannabis. The American Medical Association does not endorse medical cannabis. The Multiple Sclerosis Society can not recommend cannabis as a treatment.

“The side effects, system effects, and long term side effects are not clear,” Herring said. “It has not been shown to be medically effective and could be dangerous. “It has only been approved for two severe forms of epilepsy. We don’t know what a pediatric dose, an adult dose, or a geriatric dose would be.”

Herring warned that marijuana can cause nausea and vomiting unrelieved by current nausea medication and has resulted in death. Legalization has led to increased emergency room visits, paranoia, schizophrenia, and psychotic breaks.

“The marijuana today is more addictive than marijuana in the past,” Herring said. “Legislators should not be taking the place of scientists.”

Dr. Alan Shackelford of Colorado said, “I have seen 25,000 patients in my practice in the last ten years. I doubt you will find anybody who has as much experience with patients than I do.”

Shackelford said that Marylin was a helicopters pilot in Iraq who was shot down and had severe injuries and PTSD did not have a job rarely left her house and now has a job at the VA helping other veterans and is married

Shackleford said that Mason is age 68 and has Parkinson’s. He could not move now he plays baseball and is a deacon in his church. He also said that he treated Charlotte, a girl with Dravet Syndrome with tremendous effect and now she is a healthy twelve-year-old.

“Not all of them are as dramatic as these,” Dr. Shackelford said. Arthritis, autism, PTSD, cancer, pain, Parkinson’s, chemotherapy-related nausea can all be treated with cannabis.

“The people of Alabama deserve the same access to treatment as people in 33 other states,” Dr. Shackelford concluded.

“A number of amendments have been worked out in the last couple of weeks,” Ward said.

The amendments were added and Ward advised Melson to incorporate all the amendments into a substitute to introduce when the bill is on the Senate floor.

The most notable amendment dealt with workmen’s compensation. An employee who is injured or killed on the job is ineligible to receive compensation if his death or injury was due to the employee’s impairment under medical cannabis.

SB167 received a favorable report on an eight to one vote.

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Opinion | Alabama close to allowing hot dogs to be rescued

Joey Kennedy

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Most readers know that we’ve had a grumble of pugs for years. We lost four in the grumble last year. All of our dogs are rescues, and most of them have some disability: unable to walk well, blindness, incontinence, a perpetually crooked head.

And most of the pugs are elderly, so we expect to lose a few this year. Our youngest is Nellie Bly, at about 2 years old. We have a group of older pugs that are around 10-11 years old. Several came from puppy mills. One was surrendered to a vet tech when his owners took him to be put down because the owner’s granddaughter wanted a different dog (I know!). The veterinarian naturally was not going to euthanize a healthy animal, and about a week later, Peerey came to us.

Pugs are bred to do one thing: Sit with their humans, mostly on their laps or next to them on the bed. All of ours are bed pugs.They snore; we adore.

I say all of this to underscore that Veronica and I know not everto leave one of our dogs in a locked car, especially during the summer. But every year, we hear stories of the careless owners who leave their dog (or dogs) in the backseat of a vehicle while they run an errand. The errand takes longer than the owner thought, and heat builds in the car. Too often, that kills the pet, just like it does children, and that happens all too often as well.

As of 2019, 31 states had laws that either prohibit leaving an animal confined in a vehicle under dangerous conditions or provide civil immunity (protection from being sued) for a person who rescues a distressed animal from a vehicle.

Alabama – finally – is on the cusp of joining that group.

A bill (SB 67) sponsored by Sen. Jimmy Holley (R-Elba) will allow good Samaritans to rescue pets left in a car if they are clearly in danger from either the heat or cold. The bill provides criminal immunity to civilians and grants civil and criminal immunity to law enforcement officers who rescue an animal.

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Important, too, is that bill prevents owners from leaving their animals in a vehicle in a manner that creates an unreasonable risk of harm. If they do, they can be charged with second-degree animal abuse.

It doesn’t take long for the situation in a vehicle to deteriorate, either. 

Even on a mild day, the heat inside a car can go off the rails. According to reports, if the outside temperature is 70 degrees (f), the interior of a vehicle can heat up to 89 degrees in 10 minutes. After a half-hour, the interior temp can be 104 degrees. Of course, it’s much worse on hotter days.

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At 80 degrees, a vehicles inside temperature is at 99 degrees; after a half-hour, the animal is trying to survive in a 114-degree oven. And at 95 degrees, not an unusual June, July, or August temperature in Alabama, the inside temp of a vehicle is about 130 degrees.

Humans can’t even survive long at those temperatures.

There are conditions before a good Samaritan can step up, but they’re not unusual in states that already have similar laws: Among them:

The person has a good faith belief that the confined domestic animal is in imminent danger of suffering physical injury or death unless the domestic animal is removed from the motor vehicle;
The person determines that the motor vehicle is locked or there is no reasonable manner in which the person can remove the domestic animal from the vehicle;
Before entering the motor vehicle, the person notifies a peace officer, emergency medical service provider or first responder or an animal control enforcement agency or deputy of the confined domestic animal;
The person does not use more force than is necessary under the circumstances to enter the motor vehicle and remove the domestic animal from the vehicle.
Remains with the animal in a safe location in reasonable proximity to the motor vehicle until law enforcement or other first responders arrive.
Maintains control of the animal at all times to prevent harm to the animal or others.

There are other conditions that make less sense, however. The bill as passed 33-0 by the state Senate requires the ambient temperature in the vehicle be 99 degrees or higher before a citizen or first-responder can intervene.

I can tell you that a half-hour in a car at 95 degrees will kill a pug; a Lab or Golden might survive that temperature for awhile, but remember, every minute the car’s interior is getting hotter. Pugs are brachycephalic – short nosed – and have trouble breathing outside at 80 or 85 degrees.

Other short-nosed breeds like English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, and Boston Terriers, have the same issue. It’s one reason why they snort and snore, even in the winter.

Generally, we can tell when a dog locked in a car is distressed, and few good Samaritans are going to be carrying a temperature gauge with them.

Still, the House needs to pass this bill as soon as possible. Spring and summer aren’t that far off, and, no doubt, there will be animals to rescue.

Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column every week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected]

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