Editorial: Grandstanding in Montgomery — Senator’s ‘Duck Dynasty’ legislation gets in the way of real needs
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Dec 26, 2013 | 2102 views |  0 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print
State Sen. Jerry Fielding, R-Sylacauga. Photo: The Associated Press
State Sen. Jerry Fielding, R-Sylacauga. Photo: The Associated Press
State Sen. Jerry Fielding, R-Sylacauga, this week joined a growing list of Republican politicians currying favor with constituents by supporting Phil Robertson, one of the stars of A&E’s Duck Dynasty.

The senator is mighty agitated that A&E, the cable TV channel that airs the comings and goings of Robertson and his clan, suspended Robertson over controversial remarks he made about gay people. He promises to introduce legislation that would praise Robertson and decry A&E.

Says Fielding: “I join thousands across Alabama and our country by standing with Phil Robertson, and urge A&E to reverse their action against him.”

We guess it’s convenient for Fielding to pick and choose when it comes to the First Amendment — rights for Robertson but none for A&E management when it comes to their programming decisions.

There’s a reality show in Alabama that should be Montgomery’s central focus. No, it’s not televised, but this reality is very real for everyone in Alabama.

Budget cuts are slowly dismantling the state’s public-safety system. Hours are reduced in courtrooms, leaving less time for criminal trials. Crime labs are closed. Staffing is dropping. Prisons are dangerously overcrowded.

As this space recently pointed out, an Anniston police officer paid for his life because of overcrowded prisons.

The man who murdered Justin Sollohub should have been in prison in August 2011 when he shot and killed the Anniston police officer.

In 2009, Joshua Eugene Russell was sentenced to five years in prison after his conviction on drug distribution and obstruction of justice charges. Those five years were reduced to 17 months because of programs intended to relieve prison overcrowding.

We expect a certain degree of grandstanding from politicians like Fielding. When he’s finished, we suggest Fielding and the rest of the Legislature get to work making our state safer.
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