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Rough Tuesday: Bentley’s impeachment, red lights and Internet history

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

I don’t even know what we’re trying to do in government anymore.

I’m serious. I don’t know what any level of government is trying to accomplish, or if all of the levels might be actively working to accomplish nothing.

Perfect example: Tuesday.

Here are the things that occurred on Tuesday: The US House of Representatives voted to make it o.k. for Internet providers to sell your internet history. I don’t recall any of us asking for that.

The Alabama House Judiciary Committee’s special prosecutor issued his schedule for impeachment proceedings against Gov. Robert Bentley – an exercise that is so totally pointless they might as well impeach a Capitol building desk chair.

The Montgomery County House delegation voted down a resolution that would end the use of red light cameras in the city. Maybe I missed it, but did those become constitutional overnight?

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And finally, in a Baptist church in downtown Montgomery, workers in the church’s licensed daycare joined advocacy groups and other clergy in asking that the State require all daycares to be licensed – something that seems less like a political debate and more like the of-course-that’s-the-way-it-is way.

You see what I mean?

There appears to be a real disconnect between the politicians representing the people and the people.

Not a Democratic-Republican difference. Not a liberal-conservative difference.

A common sense, this-is-what-we-want difference.

Who in their right mind – other than some money-hungry politicians – would think it’s o.k. to allow Internet providers to sell customers’ browsing history without their permission? Because that’s exactly what this action does – removes the requirement that providers get your permission before selling your browsing history.

I swear to you, if this becomes law, I will make it my mission in life to establish, or support, an online company that does nothing but constantly update the Internet histories of every politician who voted for this monstrosity.

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If that weren’t bad enough, the Montgomery County House delegation voted not to ban red light cameras in the city. A bill to remove them, sponsored by Rep. John Knight, failed on a 3-3 vote.

Casting the deciding vote was Rep. Chris Sells, who lives in Greenville and represents a sliver of Montgomery County roughly the size of a broom closet.

Sells’ votes was the second-worst thing in the debate over the bill. The worst thing was Rep. Dimitri Polizos proclaiming that cameras “act like cops.” Except, no.

(Little tip: If you receive one of these tickets and don’t pay it, there’s nothing the city or the red light camera company can do. You can’t go to court, because that would be illegal. The company can’t report you to a credit agency, because the Supreme Court specifically ruled against that. And the city said it doesn’t allow the red light camera company to use debt collectors, so there will be no harassment. So, up to you.)

If that weren’t bad enough, there’s an actual debate in the Alabama House over licensed/unlicensed daycare centers.

Led by Rep. Jim Carnes and propped up by greedy churches – or church-affiliated daycare owners – who value dollars over the safety of children, there is actual opposition to a bill that would simply require faith-based daycares to be licensed. No more exemptions to basic safety codes simply because you have letterhead and a non-profit status.

The entire opposition to this bill is that it could lead to the State regulating the Christian teachings of those daycares, even though the bill specifically prohibits that.

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Here’s the real reason: these daycares take in hundreds of low-income kids. That results in millions of federal dollars flowing into the daycare centers.

Because it sure isn’t due to a lack of public support for the measure.

A poll conducted by Southeast Research, Inc., found that 98 percent of Alabamians support licensing all daycares. Ninety. Eight.

That’s astonishingly high.

Not so high: Bentley’s approval numbers.

Still, the majority of Alabamians don’t really care if he’s impeached. Sure, it would be a good time, and I’d enjoy the hell out of tweeting from those impeachment hearings, but who really cares? He’s an ineffective Governor who maybe sorta did some shady stuff that’s not exactly criminal in nature.

I mean, if you want to impeach the guy, knock yourself out. But I’m not sure what you’ve accomplished, unless you just feel bad for Kay Ivey because Sinclair’s in Old Cloverdale closed. Otherwise, you’re wasting time and resources that could be better spent on things that matter, like fixing this State’s broken health care system.

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So, I say all of that to say this: it would be nice if our elected officials listened to their constituents just a little bit.

Because things like these, voters tend to remember them come election time. And there’s no black guy in the White House to blame it all on anymore.


Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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