During Thursday’s legislative session, a variety of bills were passed on the Senate floor with at one point, only 13 lawmakers attending. The number of senators slowly dwindled throughout the session until a most were absent.
Among the bills passed with a nearly empty chamber were SB95 from Sen. Dick Brewbaker (R-Montgomery), which allows foster children to visit friends without the permission of the foster agency; SB131 from Sen. Paul Sanford (R-Huntsville), which provides a tax break for the money people pay into their Health Savings Accounts; SB103 from Sen. Tom Whatley (R-Auburn), which would increase the cost of waterfowl stamps; and SB215 from Sen.Jimmy Holley (R-Elba), which allows for “automated civil enforcement” of school bus violations and at least five others.
The only bill that faced real conversation was SB148 from Sen. Jim McClendon (R-Springville), which would require all passengers in a car to wear a seat belt. Currently, everyone under 15 years of age is required to buckle a safety belt in the back seat of a car. McClendon’s bill would require everyone to do so.
Sen. Trip Pittman (R-Montrose) opposed the measure on the grounds that it is an overreach to require all car riders to fasten a safety belt, which McClendon asserts would save lives. Sen. Vivian Figures (D-Mobile), who noted her support for wearing seat belts, contested the requirement that drivers be charged with the folly of their passengers.
The Senate carried McClendon’s bill over and adjourned shortly thereafter.