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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Senate passes bill to try to rename Acadome for Reed

The Alabama Senate overwhelmingly passed a resolution on Thursday that would rename the arena at Alabama State University the Joe L. Reed Acadome.

Trustees at the university named for arena for Reed in 1991, but the current board reversed that decision, quickly having his name and likeness stripped from throughout the facility.

The Senate voted 16-3 on Thursday in favor of the resolution. Sen. Quinton Ross, a Montgomery Democrat who was once president of the student body at Alabama State, abstained from the vote.

Republican Sens. Larry Dixon of Montgomery, Scott Beason of Gardendale and Arthur Orr of Decatur voted against the resolution.

"I was surprised because I thought enough people understood you don't force universities to name buildings because someone is politically powerful," Dixon said.

Dixon acknowledged Reed’s accomplishments at the university.

The resolution now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Reed said he was happy with the swift, bipartisan vote in the Senate. He said he hopes people can move on to other issues.

"When you put a person's name on something, you are honoring that person," Reed said. "When you take it off, you are dishonoring them."

He said the issue, for him, was a matter of honor and restoring honor.

"I have done nothing wrong," Reed said.

Sen. Steve French, R-Birmingham, said he thought the Legislature micromanaging universities was "poor public policy," calling the vote a "dangerous move for us."

Senate Majority Leader Zeb Little, D-Cullman, said he approached Reed after Senate President Pro Tem Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham, withdrew a bill seeking the same outcome. Little said he was willing to help in any way.

"I think he deserves the honor and I think he has done a lot for Alabama State University," Little said.

Little and Reed said it is not unprecedented for the Legislature to name buildings on campuses.

"It's not that unusual," the majority leader said.

The senator also noted that the Legislature funds the public universities in the state.


-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen

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Location: Montgomery, AL, United States

South Union Street is the blog of Montgomery Advertiser political reporters Markeshia Ricks and Sebastian Kitchen. Always check here for the latest on the Legislature, elections and other activities and players in Alabama.

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