For the “deadest” bill of the session. Considering every bill that doesn’t become law is just as dead as every other bill of the same fate, this apparently is just a way for the House of Representatives to have some fun on the last day of the session. I’m actually honored, because it is obvious that the person who drafted the resolution understands our issue and is a supporter. This is a good sign. And it gets us a little press as the session comes to a close:

The text of the resolution follows.

By Representative Wood
Rd 1 07-JUN-07


WHEREAS, PEOPLE’S HOUSE PRODUCTIONS PROUDLY PRESENTS THE 29TH ANNUAL SHROUD AWARD, brought to you by the members of this chamber sponsoring the least favored legislation of the 2007 Regular Session; and

WHEREAS, before beginning the program we pause for an infomercial for our new members; this show was the creation of a former member of this body whose vocation was mortician, and whose twisted appreciation of dark humor has been annually revived as a unique sine die spectacular during which the “deadest bill” of the session is given an encore round of rejection; and

WHEREAS, in prior performances, Representatives Holmes, Hinshaw, Kennedy, Guin, Knight, Black, Rogers, Bridges, and Wood have played the lead, each proving to be a masterful character actor, but unable to carry a major role; united by their lack of talent, this cast of cast-a-ways has joined together to stage this drama and brightly shine the spotlight on this year’s fading star; and

WHEREAS, like all good mysteries, the suspense must build before the motive and the murder is disclosed; meanwhile, the secondary script requires recognizing several underachieving understudies; penultimate players who offered a lesser degree of stage fright, but whose political plays also lacked plots and passage; consolation credits are given to the following shroud runners-up:

House Bill 438 by Representative Craig Ford, requiring schools to provide protective bicycle helmets for students and staff to wear during stormy weather. On first ride, you had to wonder if the sponsor had been thrown over his handlebars one time too many or had his sense stuck in his spokes. But after you think about it, this idea of replacing a student’s THINKING CAP with a TORNADO HAT starts to look like a no-brainer. However, the bike bonnet backer was never able to pedal his roller derby fast enough to create an upper level disturbance. When opponents began to express concerns over storage, hygiene, and hairdos, the rain began to fall on his cycle logical plan. Gloomy skies soon returned when the Gadsden weather watcher received the Education Policy Committee’s long-range forecast: zero probability of passage.

House Bill 535 by Representative Patricia Todd, requiring gasoline retailers to post a sign indicating if their fuel was supplied by a country that exports or finances terrorism. The House of Representatives, experienced in dealing with war torn nations, at least the one situated on the seventh floor, seemed well-suited to venture into foreign affairs. However, with pumps already plastered with the names of various public officials, most didn’t want to further SPARK such self-service political commentary. The Commerce Committee, seeing the smelly fumes of this petro puffery rising almost as fast as gas prices, declined to fill their tank with such a low grade offering.

House Bill 98 by Speaker Pro Tempore Demetrius Newton, submitting to the electorate the question of whether to convene a constitutional convention. This recurring shroud candidate clearly proved Newton’s law, “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Opponents argued a convention would be controlled by special interests, perhaps the same ones who insured their efforts. Proponents countered that the framers of the 1901 document built a constitution for the ages, THE MIDDLE AGES. In the end, neither college road trips, lobbyists’ push polls, nor egghead editorials were able to lay down the fundamental law. Sir Newton, LEFT OUT ON A LIMB, wisely observed that gravitational forces were pulling down the APPLE OF HIS EYE. Sadly yielding to CONVENTIONAL WISDOM, he carried over his referendum of revision for yet another day.

House Bill 225 by Representative Jack Page, requiring insurers to assume reasonable and customary charges for towing and storage of an automobile. Having been around the block a few times, the veteran rightfully felt assured. After all, just last year, he breezed through town in a similar ’06 model, clocking a BIR vote of 98 to zero and final passage numbers of 99 to nothing. The Wrecker Protector and accompanying chain gang were on cruise control. Concentrating on his destination, the road warrior didn’t notice the insurance man working the other side of the street. Believing his backers were all in tow, the driver confidently IGNORED THE RISKS, SHIFTED THE STICK, and ENDED UP IN A DITCH. Running in reverse, the BIR figures now read 36 to 46. Still STUCK with the problem, the wrecker hooked, hoisted, and hauled away the broken down solution. Totaled and unsalvagable, the sponsor’s abandoned vehicle was an accident waiting to happen.

House Bill 582 by Representative James Gordon, permitting corporal punishment in school classrooms to be administered in front of other students. Arguing SHAME works much better than PAIN, Doctor Tough Love advocated allowing teachers to administer the BOARD before the blackboard. Proudly PADDLING through political correctness, the chiropractor’s attitude adjustment quickly took an unexpected wallop. With SWITCHING supporters barely behind him, and fast becoming the butt of the joke, the sponsor bravely bent over and took his licks. The Education Policy Committee fearing this area was too sensitive, chose to spare the rod and politely told the Saraland sponsor, “NO SPANKS.”

House Bill 42 by Representative Jim McClendon, prohibiting persons under 17 years of age from operating a motor vehicle while communicating on a cell phone. The optometrist’s prescription to stop teenagers from crashing cars for conversation’s sake quickly mounted up the minutes but never seemed to connect. Anxiously roaming in his cell, the Springville specialist couldn’t get through and saw his SPECTACLE repeatedly DILATED. His master plan for wireless withholding and digital denial seemed to HANG UP those who wondered if law enforcement would only reach out and touch a select few. Talking to himself and unable to get his circle of friends to focus on the big picture, the eye doc painfully saw his calling card slowly expire. After extended debate, Ma Bell rang, and the news was not good. The reading on the wall was clear to even the most farsighted, the letters on the vision chart spelled D- E- A- D; and

WHEREAS, with the author’s ink and inspiration running as dry as the humor, and having acted out the secondary story line, it is now time to return to the principal plot; first the motive and then the murder; the winner of the 2007 Shroud Award is a bill that had an interesting life:

It was born on the Internet. Its blog fathers were men who had tasted what the world had to offer.

In its formative year of 2006, it was educated in tourism and travel, where it was allowed to age and grow to full body.

This year, having properly matured, it raised issues regarding border restraints, public safety, and promoting a higher class for society.

When first introduced, it almost caused an international incident. You would have thought someone was trying to slip the opponents a MICKEY.

It was an offering that rubbed against the GRAIN of some, and brewed STOUT objections and PINT SIZE opposition from others. Whenever you bring “al-key-haul” into the House, you can be sure of SPIRITED discussions. Liberating libations is serious business.

Looking PALE and troubled by what AILED him, the sponsor bravely argued how can we entice Germans to mill our steel and assemble our automobiles, then BLOCK THEIR BOCK? You need a cool one to celebrate Octoberfest, and he wasn’t talking about SWEET TEA.

Opponents, who were drinking their own KOOL AID, faithfully preached that alcohol-free tourism isn’t a foreign idea; and that ice cream, not beer, belongs in pints.

Also getting into the mix were the less refined or devout, who prefer Bud, because it makes them wiser. They argued who needs Belgian Dubbels, Scottish Ales, and Russian Stouts, when you’ve got Old Milwaukee and South Paw.

When it all came to a HEAD, gourmet guzzlers, good ole boy sluggers, high-level staffers, and dedicated bottle cappers all wondered what was truly on tap.

DOUBTING THOMASES didn’t have long to wait. Appearing on a special order menu, debate began and quickly ended. The sponsor, BARLEY able to swallow several rounds of less than friendly toasts, refused to bottle his reserve. Raising his glass, he boldly moved the BIR.

CHEERS were not needed. The STEIN strategy of the Jackson Brewery was coldly MUGGED. Forget FREE THE HOPS, somebody CALL THE COPS. Mashed, boiled, and finished, his world class batch was done for another year. Knowing the motive and the murder, it is now time for the final act;

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA, that the winner of the 2007 Shroud Award is House Bill 195, authorizing the sale of speciality beer with a higher alcohol content. The sponsor of this serving is requested to forget about that high-falutin’ international FERMENTATION, and instead flow forth for a frothy taste of some down home HUMILIATION. Representative Thomas Jackson is requested to come forward and drown his sorrows.