Bill would increase penalties for rioting

By PAUL DEMARCO / Guest Columnist

State Legislatures around the country are considering bills that would punish those that have been found guilty of illegal protest and riots. Oklahoma just passed a bill that would punish those that block public roads during such protest, while the Florida governor has signed into law the most comprehensive anti-riot bill in the country.

Alabama is in that group of states that has also been considering a similar bill to increase penalties for those that riot in the state. It has been over 30 days since the Alabama House of Representatives voted 75 to 26 to approve a bill by Rep. Allen Treadaway that would enhance punishment for those that participate in riots.

Yet, the bill has been languishing for weeks now in the Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee without getting a hearing. And with only three more days left in the legislative session, the chances of it becoming law are getting more difficult as everyday passes.

The question is why is a bill that punishes those that engage in violent riots and endanger the public being slow walked through the Legislature?

If the bill dies without a vote in the Senate, it will raise legitimate concerns about the commitment by some Alabama leaders to law and order in this state.

We will know soon enough.

Paul DeMarco is a former member of the Alabama House of Representatives.