The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

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January 27, 2013

New agenda mirrors Wallace’s mentality

The Anniston Star on state GOP legislation:

Alabama recently marked the 50th anniversary of George Wallace announcing that “I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny.”

Thus, it is ironic, but perhaps appropriate, that Alabama Republicans, the un-admitted heirs to in-your-face opposition to anything that comes out of Washington (except money), would set an agenda that also draws lines and announces their intention to defy the Obama administration on several fronts.

No one should be surprised. This is the culmination of rumblings that have been coming from the state GOP for months.

First, House Republicans are going to propose one more useless amendment to the 1901 Constitution, one that would guarantee the right of Alabamians to own guns. It’s based in up-to-the-minute scare-mongering over the president’s proposals to reduce gun violence. The party’s language is extremely vague, merely promising the state should “protect the right of every Alabamian to keep and bear arms.” We’ll have to wait to see if “every Alabamian” includes those currently prohibited by federal law from purchasing firearms, including felons, the mentally ill, drug users and others.

Naturally, Alabama Republicans want to give employers an opportunity to opt out of parts of Obama’s health care plan. However, if the opt-out provisions are passed, the state will again land us in federal court. If previous rulings are any indication, Alabama would likely lose, just as it did in its original challenge to Obamacare.

The state GOP proposes legislation that, under the guise of health and safety reforms, would put more restrictions on a woman’s right to an abortion. While no one can disagree with state Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin’s observation that abortions should “be done in the safest way possible,” no one should want so many restrictions placed on what the courts have ruled is a legal medical procedure that we return to the days of back-room abortions and even less concern for safety.

The Alabama GOP has laid out an agenda that, if carried out, will likely end up with the state spending money it can ill-afford on court cases it will eventually lose.

How much better will we be for that? If George Wallace were here, he could tell you.

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