The way legislation should be written
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Feb 07, 2013 | 1780 views |  0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, gavels in the lawmakers at the Alabama Statehouse in Montgomery. Photo: Dave Martin/Associated Press
Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, gavels in the lawmakers at the Alabama Statehouse in Montgomery. Photo: Dave Martin/Associated Press
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Legislation often is proposed because lawmakers want to draw attention to themselves, puff-up their reputation or challenge their opponents and dare them to oppose their idea.

In other words, politics.

So it’s refreshing to see legislation being written the way legislation should be.

Alabama law enforcement had a problem. Under state law, second-degree burglary is committed “when a person unlawfully enters a lawfully occupied residence with intent to commit a theft or felony inside.” Well, that should be illegal.

The problem, however, is that “lawfully occupied” is interpreted to mean the homeowner is home. So burglars wait until the homeowner leaves and then breaks in. If the burglar is caught, the crime is considered third-degree burglary and the punishment is considerably less. The milder the penalty, the more willing burglars are to take the chance.

The Alabama Fraternal Order of Police legislative committee recognized the problem and came up with a plan to change the law so that it would read that if someone “enters a livable dwelling-house whether occupied or not with intent to commit a theft or a felony therein,” it would be second-degree burglary. The committee asked Rep. Randy Wood, R-Anniston, to review their idea and prepare a bill that would address the problem.

Rep. Wood did just that and the bill will be introduced in the Legislature this month.

This page urges our representatives and senators to support the measure.

This page also commends the Fraternal Order of Police and Wood for showing us, once again, how our legislative system is supposed to work. Little fanfare or hype. A problem recognized and a problem addressed.

This is how it should be done.
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