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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Christian Coalition criticizes new State House security policy

The head of the Christian Coalition of Alabama, Randy Brinson, said Tuesday that a new policy launched by the new Republican leadership in the Legislature "will likely have a chilling effect on the ability of the people to contact their representatives."
Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard and Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh said Monday that people would no longer be able to freely roam the halls of the floors where lawmakers have offices when the Legislature is in session. They said people can set up appointments to see their lawmakers.
Hubbard, R-Auburn, and Marsh, R-Anniston, cited the tragic shooting in Tucson as a reason for restricting access.
But, as Brinson points out, that occurred in an open area while people must pass through security personnel and metal detectors to get into the State House.
"The fact that the tragedy in Tucson is now being used as a justification for diminishing access of the people to their representatives is neither prudent nor necessary," Brinson said.
Hubbard and Marsh said they wanted to help relieve the hallways of congestion.
Marsh said there are times he has gone to his office and six lobbyists were there waiting on him.
The top lawmakers mentioned on Monday a freshman legislator being cornered and intimidated in an office during the special session in December.
"Many have brought allegations of intimidation during the special session," Brinson said. "If that is the case, then such matters need to be brought forward and investigated and if there were lapses in security or badgering of legislators, then those who committed such acts need to be held accountable. To date, no specifics have been elucidated."
Brinson said he agreed with Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, who wanted "to clear the halls of the lobbyists so that the people will have access to their representatives."
"We totally concur with this sentiment, and as such, we will work with the leadership so that everyday citizens will be able to address their legislators and not just the special interests or affluent," Brinson said.
He said they want to ensure that all citizens have access to their representatives.

-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen

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