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nAz
04-15-2005, 07:49 AM
hog-dog rodeos thats gotta be gross...

Some capital ideas
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Huntsville Times

Of 'time-outs,' hog-dog rodeos, development and taxing the poor

What's been going on in Montgomery, the center of Alabama's political universe, lately?
Well, here's a sampling:

Republicans and Democrats have been wrangling over the budgets the Democrats have been ramrodding through the Legislature. So on Wednesday, the legislators put themselves in "time-out" so maybe they would learn to play nicely. Of course, they did it while drawing their salaries.

Many House members spent their day at a golf game in the capital city. The Senate, though, which normally only meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays (Wednesdays are usually reserved for committee meetings) decided to meet anyway. A majority of the senators tore themselves away from the shindig at Sen. Jack Biddle's farm in Wilcox County, which they would pay themselves to attend, to conduct business.

Hurrah for the Senate? Maybe not. As Sen. Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham, notes, the Senate will only have eight days now in which to complete the budgets before it must, by law, adjourn.

So that means, Smitherman says, a special session - at additional taxpayers' expense - seems more certain.

Because of the budget brouhaha, a bill to prohibit hog-dog rodeos languishes in the House.

A hog-dog rodeo involves hogs, with their tusks removed, being released into a pen with "catch dogs," which subdue the hogs by biting their ears and pulling them to the ground.

Its proponents claim it is "family entertainment."

The owners of four South Alabama pens have been charged under broader animal cruelty laws. Rep. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, wants a separate law for the hog-dog rodeos. "I've never seen anything in my life as inhumane and disturbing," he says.

Ward has injected himself in other animal-law issues, including a pending measure that would let judges declare certain dogs as dangerous and execute them if their behavior warranted it.

Exactly how prevalent hog-dog rodeos are hasn't been reported. Nor is the need for a special law overwhelming, since those arrested under animal cruelty laws could be put behind bars for six months.

You have to be concerned, though, about people who would call watching hogs and dogs sustain major injuries "family entertainment."

The House earlier this week gave a thumbs down to a proposal to set up a commission to oversee Alabama's economic development.

The problem for many legislators was that the independent commission, whose staggered terms might mean not all of its members would be appointed by the same governor, would name the Alabama Development Office's director.

"It could make life miserable for the governor," says Rep. Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn.

Thus does the Legislature make decisions - not on whether a commission would help the state develop its economy efficiently, but where power lies.

A handful of third-graders could have worked out a compromise on this issue, rather than shelving the idea.

If the Legislature truly wants to accomplish something worthwhile, it should note that a survey by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington this week reported that Alabama has become the only state taxing families whose income is less than half the poverty level.

Kentucky, which shared this dubious distinction, has enacted a tax-income credit that takes effect this year. So for now, Alabama is on its own.

Maybe the House members discussed how to deal with this while they were playing golf or the senators pondered it during their impromptu session.

By David Prather, for the editorial board

Deeman2
04-15-2005, 08:03 AM
Sure miss those Hog-Dog Rodeos....

Deeman /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif