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Week three 2019 regular session legislative report

Beth Lyons

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Contributed by the Lyons Law Firm. View the full report here.

The Alabama Legislature resumed its annual Regular Session on Tuesday, April 2 for Day 5. Twenty-seven committee meetings were held throughout the week to consider legislation. Both Houses met on Wednesday, April 3 for Day 6 and Thursday, April 4 for Day 7.

In total, 611 bills have been introduced to date.

The Legislature will return to Montgomery on Tuesday, April 9 for Day 8 of the Session with the House convening at 1 p.m. and the Senate at 3 p.m.

DURING THE WEEK:

Rep. Dimitri Polizos of Montgomery (District 74) passed away the week of the break following a heart attack. His family was honored on the House floor and presented with a Resolution honoring his life and contribution to public service in the state. Governor Kay Ivey has scheduled a special election to fill the vacant seat. The primary will be held on June 11 with a run-off, if necessary, scheduled for August 27. If no run-off is necessary, the general election will be held on August 27. If a run-off is necessary the general election will be held on November 12.

The U. S. Department of Justice released its 56 page report following a two and a half year investigation into Alabama’s prisons. The Department concluded that there is reasonable cause to believe that conditions in Alabama prisons violate the Constitution. Governor Ivey released the following statement in response, “We appreciate the U.S. Department of Justice’s efforts to ensure open lines of communication with the State of Alabama. DOJ has identified many of the same areas of concern that we have discussed publicly for some time. Over the coming months, my Administration will be working closely with DOJ to ensure that our mutual concerns are addressed and that we remain steadfast in our commitment to public safety, making certain that this Alabama problem has an Alabama solution.”

SIGNIFICANT INTRODUCTIONS THIS WEEK:

A bill was introduced in both Houses that would make an abortion procedure a felony for a physician unless the abortion is necessary to prevent serious health risks to the mother [HB314 by Rep. Terri Collins and SB211 by Sen. Greg Albritton].

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A bill was introduced in both houses that would amend the Simplified Sellers Use Tax by modifying the definition of eligible seller, clarifying transactions from which simplified sellers us tax cannot be remitted, and adjusting the use tax rate [HB318 by Rep. Rod Scott and SB218 by Sen. Greg Albritton].

A bill was introduced in both Houses that would prohibit a local governing body from banning the use of plastic grocery bags [HB346 by Rep. Nathaniel Ledbetter and SB244 by Sen. Steve Livingston].

A bill was introduced in the House that would require dispensing veterinarians to notify pet owners of the option to purchase veterinary drugs from a pharmacy rather than the veterinarian’s office. The bill is pending in the House Agriculture and Forestry Committee [HB293 by Rep. Margie Wilcox].

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A bill was introduced in the House that would allow a licensed wine manufacturer to obtain a wine direct shipper permit to ship directly to residents for personal use. The bill is pending in the House Commerce and Small Business Committee [HB350 by Rep. Terri Collins].

A bill was introduced in the House that would require the owner of a vessel to obtain a certificate of title on the vessel. The bill is pending in the House State Government Committee [HB303 by Rep. Connie Rowe].

Two bills were introduced in the House that would permit wagering on the results of certain professional or collegiate sports or athletic events. The bills are pending in the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee [HB315 and HB358 by Rep. John Rogers].

A bill was introduced in the House that would allow the carrying or possession of a firearm on certain property or in a motor vehicle without a concealed pistol permit. The bill is pending in the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee [HB336 by Rep. Andrew Sorrell].

A bill was introduced in the House that would require fire departments provide supplemental insurance coverage to pay the claims of a career firefighter who has served 12 consecutive months and has been diagnosed with cancer under certain conditions. The bill is pending in the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee [HB360 by Rep. Phillip Pettus].

A bill was introduced in the House that would provide for the registration of certain fantasy sports operators, require the implementation of procedures for consumer protection, and exempt fantasy sports contests from the state prohibition against gambling. The bill is pending in the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee [HB361 by Rep. Kyle South].

A bill was introduced in the House that would require the Strengthen Alabama Homes Program to maintain as confidential all documents and information submitted in support of grant applications. The bill is pending in the House Insurance Committee [HB363 by Rep. Chip Brown].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would revise the State Minimum Salary Schedule for education employees to reflect a 4% pay increase beginning October 1, 2019. The bill is pending in the Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee [SB192 by Sen. Arthur Orr].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would require a county or municipality to include a schedule of all of the debt obligations of the county or municipality with the bond financing agreement documents. The bill is pending in the Senate Governmental Affair Committee [SB202 by Sen. Arthur Orr].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would provide for the procedure for depositing of material from the dredging of the inlets of the state. The bill is pending in the Senate Transportation and Energy Committee [SB215 by Sen. David Sessions].

A proposed Constitutional Amendment was introduced in the Senate that would establish a lottery, provide for the sale of paper lottery tickets including instant tickets and multi-state lottery games, and provide for the distribution of proceeds, first to repayment to the Alabama Trust Fund for transfers made to the General Fund, then one-half to the Alabama Trust Fund and one-half to the General Fund. The bill is pending in the Senate Tourism Committee [SB220 by Sen. Greg Albritton].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would require the Department of Agriculture and Industries to develop a plan for monitoring and regulating the production of hemp. The bill is pending in the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee [SB225 by Sen. Tim Melson].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would move from the ethics code to the criminal code certain provisions relating to the ethics law and revise certain provision regarding public officials. The bill is pending in the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee [SB230 by Sen. Greg Albritton].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would allow certain licensed small farm wineries to sell directly to consumers. The bill is pending in the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee [SB234 by Sen. Tom Whatley].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would allow the use of medical marijuana if a person has a qualifying condition and a valid medical cannabis card. The bill is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee [SB236 by Sen. Tim Melson].

SIGNIFICANT COMMITTEE ACTION THIS WEEK:

The House Ways and Means General Fund Committee substituted and gave a favorable report to the
2.1 billion General Fund Budget which includes a $40 million increase to the Department of Corrections, a $5.7 million increase to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, a $52 million decrease to Medicaid, which will be offset by federal funds, and an $8 million increase to the Department of Mental Health. The bill now goes to the full House [HB152 by Rep. Steve Clouse].

The House Ways and Means General Fund Committee amended and gave a favorable report to a bill that would provide for a cost-of-living increase for state employees beginning Oct. 1, 2019. The bill now goes to the full House [HB166 by Rep. Dimitri Polizos].

The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would require all business license and permit applicants who employ five or more persons to prove enrollment in E-Verify prior to the issuance of a business license or permit by a municipality or county. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB71 by Sen. Arthur Orr].

The Senate Tourism Committee held a public hearing, but did not vote, on three lottery bills [SB116 and SB130 by Sen. Jim McClendon, and SB220 by Sen. Greg Albritton].

The House Insurance Committee amended and gave a favorable report to a bill that would require insurance companies writing homeowners insurance policies to offer an endorsement that upgrades a home to a fortified standard adopted when the insured incurs roof damage covered by the policy that will require a roof to be replaced. The bill now goes to the full House [HB283 by Rep. Chip Brown].

The Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would allow the state and its political subdivisions to utilize waiver valuations, in lieu of an appraisal, to determine the value of real property for the right-of-way acquisitions. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB139 by Sen. Billy Beasley].

The Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee and the House State Government Committee gave favorable reports to companion bills that would provide that a local employer participating in the Employees’ Retirement System could elect to provide the same retirement benefits given to Tier I plan members to its Tier II plan members [SB147 by Sen. Jabo Waggoner and HB61 by Rep. Nathaniel Ledbetter].

The House Economic Development and Tourism Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would provide that Alabama would observe Daylight Saving Time year-round if Congress amends the existing federal prohibition. The bill now goes to the full House [HB172 by Rep. April Weaver].

The Senate Tourism Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would exclude certain rentals that are not for overnight accommodations from the lodging tax. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB171 by Sen. Garlan Gudger].

The Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee held a public hearing, but did not vote, on a bill that would exclude places or spaces for tent camping or marine slips, or in parks for recreational vehicles from the state transient occupancy tax or lodging tax [SB19 by Sen. Gerald Allen].

SIGNIFICANT FLOOR ACTION THIS WEEK:

The House passed a bill that would provide circumstances under which an individual acting as an economic development professional is not considered a lobbyist. The bill now goes to the Senate [HB289 by Rep. Alan Baker].

The House passed a bill that would authorize the Town of Dauphin Island to establish up to three entertainment districts within its corporate limits if certain qualifications are met. The bill now goes to the Senate [HB224 by Rep. Chip Brown].

The House substituted, amended and passed a bill that would require retailers of alternative nicotine products, to obtain a tobacco license, prohibit certain advertisements, prohibit the sale to minors, and require the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to regulate retail sales of alternative nicotine devices as with sales of tobacco products. The bill now goes to the Senate [HB41 by Rep. Shane Stringer].

The Senate amended and passed a bill that would allow public schools to offer elective courses focusing on the study of the Bible in grades 6 to 12 and allow for the display of artifacts, monuments, symbols, and texts related to the study of the Bible. The bill now goes to the House [SB14 by Sen. Tim Melson].

The Senate carried over a bill that would establish procedures and conditions for asset forfeitures. The bill now goes to the House [SB191 by Sen. Arthur Orr].

The Senate carried over a bill that would require the owner of a vessel to obtain a certificate of title on the vessel [SB152 by Sen. Billy Beasley].

The House amended and passed a bill that would authorize the county commission of a wet county to permit and regulate the sale of alcoholic beverages on Sunday. The bill now goes to the Senate [HB168 by Rep. Reed Ingram].

The House passed a bill that would allow a county housing authority to have the option of electronic posting of the notice to potential purchasers of bonds, eliminate the requirement for bids to be advertised for three weeks and publicly let to the lowest responsible bidder, and exclude municipal, county and regional housing authorities from the requirement of obtaining prior written consent of the Department of Finance to issue and sell bonds. The bill now goes to the Senate [HB63 by Rep. Steve McMillan].

The House passed a bill that would allow the state and its political subdivisions to utilize waiver valuations, in lieu of an appraisal, to determine the value of real property for the purposes of righ-of-way acquisitions. The bill now goes to the Senate [HB98 by Rep. Corley Ellis].

The House carried over a bill that would provide for the governor to fill vacancies in the U. S. Senate until the next general election [HB23 by Rep. Steve Clouse].

The Senate amended and passed a bill that would criminalize the act of recording or attempting to record any image or video of private, intimate body parts of another person without that person’s consent. The bill now goes to the House [SB26 by Sen.Clyde Chambliss].

The Senate passed a bill that would authorize the taking of whitetail dear or feral swine by means of bait when a person purchases a baiting privilege license from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The bill now goes to the House [SB66 by Sen. Jack Williams].

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

A joint Senate and House resolution congratulating the band Alabama on their 50th Anniversary passed the Senate and is pending in the House Rules Committee [SJR26 by Sen. Steve Livingston].

A joint Senate and House resolution to make Autauga County Artesian Water the Official State Water passed the Senate and is pending in the House Rules Committee [SJR17 by Sen. Clyde Chambliss].

BUDGETS:

  • Education Trust Fund — HB141 by Rep. Poole in the House. Pending in House Ways and Means committee.
  • Education Trust Fund — SB199 by Sen. orr in the Senate. Pending in the Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee.
  • General Fund Budget — HB152 by Rep. Clouse in the House. Substituted and reported favorable from the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee.
  • General Fund Budget — SB85 by Sen. Albritton in the Senate. Pending in the Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee.

SUMMARY STATISTICS:

  • Bills introduced: 611
  • Bills that have passed house of origin: 97
  • Bills that have passed both houses: 1
  • Bills that are pending governor’s signature: 1
  • Bills that have been vetoed: 0
  • Constitutional Amendment bills pending referendum: 0
  • Bills enacted: 0

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Alabama Legislative Black Caucus holds meetings on racism in wake of George Floyd death

Eddie Burkhalter

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State Sen. Vivian Figures, D-Mobile, is the chair of the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus.

Members of the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus in recent months have been meeting with Gov. Kay Ivey, state law enforcement officials and others to voice their concern over systemic racism in Alabama, the group said in a statement Friday. 

Alabama Legislative Black Caucus members in June met with Ivey, and in follow-up meetings with other state officials and leaders of higher education, members discussed what they believe needs changing to battle racism in Alabama, according to the press release. 

“We are very appreciative of Governor Ivey and all of the officials with whom we have met thus far,” said State Sen. Vivian Figures, D-Mobile, chairwoman of the ALBC, in a statement. “Our dialogues have been very substantive and productive as the Caucus presented our concerns and recommendations. Our goal is to get to the root of and eradicate racism and anything that communicates hatred, bigotry or divisiveness within the State of Alabama. The tragic and senseless death of George Floyd caused us all to take a closer look at the systemic racism at work here in Alabama.”

ALBC members met with officials from Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the Alabama Sheriffs Association, the Alabama Association of Police Chiefs and Katie Britt, president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama along with BCA’s Executive Leadership Committee.

Members also met with The University of Alabama System Chancellor Finis St. John, and Jay Gogue, president of Auburn University. 

In the statement, ALBC members applauded the University of Alabama’s Board of Trustees for voting unanimously to rename Nott Hall — named for Josiah Nott, a doctor who believed in white superiority — Honors Hall. 

“The University of Alabama had already started this endeavor before our meeting with them this past Tuesday,” said State Rep. A.J. McCampbell, D-Gallion, vice chairman of ALBC, in a statement. “That was a great first step and strong leadership was shown. We are looking forward to the other institutions of higher learning in Alabama to do the same as well. The Caucus also hopes that all members of the Alabama Legislature have been inspired to adopt and make meaningful changes in legislation that governs our state.”

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Figures said the group of elected senators and representatives are holding these talks, with plans for others, “so that people will stop focusing on Alabama’s sordid past, and instead see a beautiful Alabama present, and the makings of a bright future for all Alabamians.” 

“During each of these meetings, our members have had the opportunity to voice what we feel the necessary changes should be. I just hope this openness to positive change continues throughout the upcoming 2021 Alabama Legislative Session,” said State Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, in a statement. 

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State senator calls for Rep. Dismukes to resign over celebration of former Klan leader

“Since first being elected in 1996, I’ve had a policy of not publicly criticizing other elected officials, but at this time I am making an exception since Rep. Dismukes is MY state representative,” Chambliss wrote in a tweet. “He does not represent my views or the views of the vast majority of people in District 88.” 

Eddie Burkhalter

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State Sen Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville, on Monday called for the resignation of Rep. Will Dismukes, R-Prattville.

State Sen Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville, on Monday called for the resignation of Rep. Will Dismukes, R-Prattville, after posting to social media about attending a birthday celebration for Nathanial Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general and first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

Dismukes posted a photo of himself on Sunday speaking at Fort Dixie outside of Selma on Saturday, the same day that late Congressman and Civil Rights hero Rep. John Lewis, was honored in Selma. 

“Since first being elected in 1996, I’ve had a policy of not publicly criticizing other elected officials, but at this time I am making an exception since Rep. Dismukes is MY state representative,” Chambliss wrote in a tweet. “He does not represent my views or the views of the vast majority of people in District 88.” 

“The post is bad enough, the timing is even worse, but the real problem is that an elected official in 2020 would attend a celebration of the life of someone that led a group that terrorized and killed other human beings,” Chambliss continued in the tweet. “He has had 24 hours to understand why people are so upset, but his interview on WSFA a few moments ago confirms that he is lacking in understanding and judgment — he should resign immediately.” 

Dismukes in the WSFA interview told a reporter that he hadn’t thought about the memorial for Rep. Lewis and connected it to his attendance at the celebration for the Klan leader. 

Dismukes told WSFA that he won’t apologize for his family’s service in the “war between the states” that he said wasn’t primarily fought over slavery, that he’s not a racist but that he doesn’t see the need for the current racial reconciliation. 

“We no longer drink from separate water fountains, and we no longer have segregated schools,” Dismukes told WSFA. “You know there’s abundant work opportunities for all colors, there’s abundant scholarship opportunities for all colors. So what are you asking that needs to be racially reconciled?”

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Chambliss may be the first Republican lawmaker in Alabama to call for Dismukes’ resignation, but others have expressed concern over his social media post and attendance at the event. 

Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan issued a statement addressing the post, and said he believes voters should decide whether Dismukes keeps his office. 

“While Rep. Dismukes has released a statement attempting to clarify his actions as a private citizen attending a celebration of the first Grand Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan, Alabamians hold their elected officials to a high standard of actions. So does the Republican Party,” Lathan said in the statement. 

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“Rep. Dismukes offered no explanation for why he participated in a birthday celebration of Nathan Bedford Forrest. Additionally, I find his statement to be shallow in understanding why his activities are deeply offensive to so many Alabamians. His constituents will be the final decision-makers of his political future.”

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Republicans are concerned by Rep. Dismukes’ Confederate social media posts

Brandon Moseley

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Rep. Will Dismukes, R-Prattville, is facing criticism for attending a birthday celebration for the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter, R-Rainsville, on Monday released a statement in response to a recent social media post by State Rep. Will Dismukes, R-Prattville, who was in Selma Saturday celebrating Confederate General and Ku Klux Klan leader Gen. Nathan Bedford Forest’s birthday over the weekend. This was while much of the rest of the state was celebrating the life of Alabama native and Civil Rights Movement legend Congressman John Lewis.

“The Alabama Republican Caucus is comprised of 75 men and women, each of whom have their own beliefs and principles that guide their lives,” Ledbetter said. “The personal beliefs expressed by any one member do not reflect the beliefs of the others, and their activities outside the Legislature should be considered their own, as well.”

“Several of our Republican Caucus members have reached out to me with concerns about the content and timing of a recent social media post by State Rep. Will Dismukes, and I, as a House member, share those concerns,” Ledbetter continued. “We live in a nation that guarantees each citizen the right to express the ideas they wish to share, and in the case of a public official, voters will ultimately decide if they agree with those ideas.”

Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon, R-Monrovia, also released a statement regarding the controversial social media post.

“The Alabama House cannot police the beliefs, statements, and activities of its members outside the Legislature as that is a job best assigned to voters in each House district across the state,” McCutcheon said. “It is important to note, however, that I and many other members of the House devoted our weekend toward honoring an Alabama native and civil rights icon who dedicated his life to securing freedom, liberty, and equality for all Americans.”

“While Rep. Dismukes has released a statement attempting to clarify his actions as a private citizen attending a celebration of the first Grand Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan, Alabamians hold their elected officials to a high standard of actions. So does the Republican Party,” said Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan. “Rep. Dismukes offered no explanation for why he participated in a birthday celebration of Nathan Bedford Forrest. Additionally, I find his statement to be shallow in understanding why his activities are deeply offensive to so many Alabamians. His constituents will be the final decision-makers of his political future.”

“The Alabama of today was on full, honorable display as we paid humble tribute this weekend to the life of Congressman John Lewis,” Lathan continued. “That is the Alabama that we are proud of — showing the nation and world that we are one in the common goals of equality for all of our citizens.”

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“It is one thing to honor one’s Southern heritage, however, it is completely another issue to specifically commemorate the leader of an organization with an indisputable history of unconscionable actions and atrocities toward African-Americans,” Lathan concluded. “I strongly urge his constituents to contact Rep. Dismukes to articulate and share with him their thoughts on his personal actions.”

On Sunday, Dismukes shared several pictures from the celebration of Gen. Forest’s birthday, with the caption: “Had a great time at Fort Dixie speaking and giving the invocation for Nathan Bedford Forrest annual birthday celebration. Always a great time and some sure enough good eating!!”

After the comments became a social media firestorm that has garnered press attention, Dismukes attempted to explain his position.

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“First and foremost, my post yesterday was in no way related to disrespecting the passing of Rep. John Lewis,” Dismukes said. “That wasn’t even a thought in my mind. That is not who I am as a person. I am a transparent person. To the point that as a public official I lay it all there for the people to see for better or for worse at times. My post yesterday was as usual me sharing a previous days events. The post was in no way intended to seem as if I was glorifying the Klan or any party thereof. The very atrocities and actions they committed are a disgrace to our country.”

“Also, we are all individual members that make up our legislature. I made a post independent of my colleagues,” Dismukes continued. “I made a post independent of my colleagues. My regret is that I have allowed them to be put in a negative light. If you disagree with me and my beliefs do not hold them under the same umbrella. I can live with a dislike for me, but not fellow members, or members of my own personal family. Our body as a whole is made up of some of the finest people I have ever had the honor of knowing and working with, both Democrat and Republican. I close by reiterating that my post was in no way glorifying the Klan or disrespecting the late Rep. John Lewis.”

The Alabama Democratic Party had already come out and demanded that Dismukes resign months ago when it became known that he, a minister, was chaplain for a Sons of the Confederacy chapter in central Alabama.

Dismukes is serving in his first term in the Alabama House. He briefly was a congressional candidate in Alabama’s 2nd District but dropped out of the race before the Republican Primary.

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Alabama lawmaker faces sharp criticism over celebration of former KKK leader

Micah Danney

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State Rep. Will Dismukes, R-Prattville, shared a post on Facebook after a birthday celebration for Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

State Rep. Will Dismukes, R-Prattville, is again facing calls to resign over a social media post he made about his participation in an event honoring Confederate heritage.

Dismukes posted a photo of himself on Sunday speaking at Fort Dixie the day before, where a yearly event was held celebrating the birthday of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general and first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

“Had a great time at Fort Dixie speaking and giving the invocation for Nathan Bedford Forrest annual birthday celebration. Always a great time and some sure enough good eating!!” Dismukes wrote above a photo of himself speaking on a porch adorned with a portrait of Forrest and several Confederate flags. The post is no longer visible.

Criticism was swift on social media as word spread that Dismukes attended the celebration on the same weekend that the late Congressman and Civil Rights hero, Rep. John Lewis, was honored in Selma, where Lewis was nearly beaten to death in 1965, during the march for voting rights that crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

Alabama Democratic Party Executive Director Wade Perry called for Dismukes to resign.

“Will Dismukes has demonstrated yet again why he is unfit to hold public office,” Perry said in a statement. “Americans don’t celebrate racists or traitors. Nathan Bedford Forrest was both. And a founder of the Klan. The Alabama Democratic Party renews our call for Dismukes to resign. It’s 2020 and it’s time for racial extremists like Will Dismukes to go away.”

Dismukes posted a statement on Monday addressing the criticism: “First and foremost, my post yesterday was in no way related to disrespecting the passing of Rep. John Lewis. That wasn’t even a thought in my mind. That is not who I am as a person.

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“I am a transparent person. To the point that as a public official I lay it all there for the people to see for better or for worse at times. My post yesterday was as usual me sharing a previous days events. The post was in no way intended to seem as if I was glorifying the Klan or any party thereof. The very atrocities and actions they committed are a disgrace to our country.

“Also, we are all individual members that make up our legislature. I made a post independent of my colleagues. My regret is that I have allowed them to be put in a negative light. If you disagree with me and my beliefs do not hold them under the same umbrella. I can live with a dislike for me, but not fellow members, or members of my own personal family. Our body as a whole is made up of some of the finest people I have ever had the honor of knowing and working with, both Democrat and Republican.

“I close by reiterating that my post was in no way glorifying the Klan or disrespecting the late Rep. John Lewis.”

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Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan issued a statement addressing the post:

“While Rep. Dismukes has released a statement attempting to clarify his actions as a private citizen attending a celebration of the first Grand Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan, Alabamians hold their elected officials to a high standard of actions. So does the Republican Party.

“Rep. Dismukes offered no explanation for why he participated in a birthday celebration of Nathan Bedford Forrest. Additionally, I find his statement to be shallow in understanding why his activities are deeply offensive to so many Alabamians. His constituents will be the final decision-makers of his political future.

“The Alabama of today was on full, honorable display as we paid humble tribute this weekend to the life of Congressman John Lewis. That is the Alabama that we are proud of – showing the nation and world that we are one in the common goals of equality for all of our citizens.

“It is one thing to honor one’s Southern heritage, however, it is completely another issue to specifically commemorate the leader of an organization with an indisputable history of unconscionable actions and atrocities toward African-Americans. I strongly urge his constituents to contact Rep. Dismukes to articulate and share with him their thoughts on his personal actions.”

House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter, R-Rainsville, issued a statement saying that the beliefs of one member don’t reflect the beliefs of all, and that several Republican Caucus members expressed concern to him about the content and timing of Dismukes’ post.

We live in a nation that guarantees each citizen the right to express the ideas they wish to share, and in the case of a public official, voters will ultimately decide if they agree with those ideas.”

Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon, R-Monrovia, on Monday issued his own statement:

“The Alabama House cannot police the beliefs, statements, and activities of its members outside the Legislature as that is a job best assigned to voters in each House district across the state.  

“It is important to note, however, that I and many other members of the House devoted our weekend toward honoring an Alabama native and civil rights icon who dedicated his life to securing freedom, liberty, and equality for all Americans.”

Rep. Danny Garrett, R-Trussville, tweeted a stern rebuke on Sunday: “I cannot fathom why anyone in 2020 celebrates the birthday of the 1st KKK Grand Wizard. And while the body of a civil rights icon beaten by the Klan lies at state Capitol being honored by GOP/Dem leaders from all over the state. This mentality does not rep my party or my faith.”

Another GOP colleague, Rep. Allen Farley, R-McCalla, responded to a constituent about the matter in a tweet

“Scott, As a Christian, Conservative, member of the Republican Party, I was proud of the comments of my colleague Rep. Danny Garrett. Rep Will Dismukes’ actions were also unfathomable to me. I believe it will take the voters in House Dist. 88 to remove Rep. Dismukes from office,” Farley said.

While fellow Republican officials said that Dismukes’ constituents should decide if he remains in office, the College Republican Federation of Alabama issued a statement on Monday calling for him to resign.

“Representative Dismukes’s Facebook post of him at an event that celebrated former KKK Grand Wizard Nathan Bedford Forrest is unacceptable and has no place in the State Legislature or the Republican Party,” the statement said.

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