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Alabama mayors urge support for “Aniah’s Law”

The first amendment on the Nov. 8 ballot, “Aniah’s Law” would allow judges to deny bail to people charged with violent Class A Felonies.

Aniah Blanchard

Mayors from Alabama’s 10 biggest cities came together in Auburn Monday to support Amendment 1, dubbed “Aniah’s Law,” which will be on the ballot for ratification by Alabama voters in the Nov. 8 midterm election. If ratified, Aniah’s Law would allow judges to deny bail to any person charged with a Class A Felony. 

“As governments, public safety is our number one responsibility,” said Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson. “Collectively, we have been working since 2019 on legislation to change our state constitution and give judges the option of denying pre-trial bail to the most violent offenders who are likely to reoffend. We know this will save lives in every community across the state.”

The amendment is named for Aniah Blanchard, a Southern Union Community College student who was kidnapped and murdered in 2019; her accused killer was out on bail awaiting trial for charges of kidnapping, attempted murder, and robbery at the time.

“Fall is an exciting time in Auburn, with new students, football, relationships, and classes. It has been a great fall here in Auburn, but it should have included Aniah Blanchard,” said Auburn Mayor Ron Anders. “On November 8, the citizens of Alabama have something they can do about this. By voting for amendment one, you will allow judges to keep violent offenders in jail, so in the future, we will not have other stories like Aniah Blanchard’s to remember.”   

Under current Alabama law, judges have limited authority to deny bail to violent offenders unless the suspect is charged with a capital offense or poses a flight risk. 

“No family should have to go through such a tragedy,” said Angela Harris, Blanchard’s mother. “If this could happen to Aniah, it could happen to anyone. Please keep your family, your friends and your community safe, and honor Aniah’s memory on November 8th.” 

If the majority of Alabamians vote for Amendment 1 on Nov. 8, judges will be able to deny bail to any person charged with serious felonies like attempted murder, kidnapping, rape, sexual torture, domestic violence, human trafficking, burglary, arson, robbery, terrorism, or aggravated child abuse. 

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Representing the largest cities in Alabama, the Alabama Big 10 Mayors include Auburn Mayor Ron Anders, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling, Dothan Mayor Mark Saliba, Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, Madison Mayor Paul Finley, Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson, Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox.

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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