First the good news:
A plan to ban smoking in restaurants went up in smoke this morning in an Alabama House committee.
Sen. Vivian Davis Figures’ proposed constitutional amendments to keep smoking out of restaurants and bars didn’t make it out of the House State Government Committee, putting its passage in the few days left this legislative session in peril.
“I think we as Americans have a right to breath clean air,” said Figures, defending the bill before the committee.
A handful of municipalities in the state, including Montgomery have put limits on smoking. In the Capital City, there’s no puffing allowed in restaurants that serve children.
The news isn’t all that good, though. They will be certain to bring it up again next year — with more money and support behind them.
Now the bad news:
HB663 known as The Alabama Compassionate Care Act, which would allow patients suffering from various debilitating medical conditions to use marijuana as medicine with the approval of their physician, died in the Alabama House Judiciary Committee this session. At this time there will be no further action on the bill until the next legislative session in Jan. 2007. It might also come up in any special session conducted between now and then.
As disappointing as this delay is please know that it is not the end. Our goals at present are to conduct more outreach work, facilitate more public discussions, educate more members of the public, the medical community and our elected officials about this issue and to continue to assert that sick and dying people do not belong in prison for trying to ease their suffering.
As we work towards passage of this bill in the next legislative session we will need the help and support of all Alabamians.
This news isn’t as bad as it seems. We didn’t expect it to go far this legislative season because of the November elections. We did get a new (still top secret, until Election Day, at least) sponsor. This issue can be expected to be very hot next February when we reintroduce it, though.