Conservative legislation a response to voters

Published 11:00 pm Friday, June 10, 2011

State Sen. Bryan Taylor says Alabama voters got what they asked for with the tough anti-immigration law passed by lawmakers this year.

Taylor, R-Prattville, says conservative lawmakers were simply responding to the demands of voters as they crafted the 2011 Legislative agenda. Among that agenda, efforts to reform teacher tenure law; budget balancing measures that will result in drastic cuts across the state; and this tough, anti-immigration law that has drawn national attention.

While the American Civil Liberties Union threatens to sue over Alabama’s new legislation, Taylor and others say the measure – which makes it a crime for illegal immigrants to work in the state, will simply weed out illegal immigrants and force more people to enter the country – and the state – through legal means. It’s designed to level the playing field, and it goes so far as to prohibit officials from offering sanctuary to illegal aliens and allows law enforcement officers to ask for documentation as part of the identification process.

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Opponents say it gives law enforcement too much freedom, and leans toward a police state.

But Taylor, and others, say it’s simply what voters asked for when they cast an overwhelming majority of votes for conservative candidates in the 2010 elections. And it’s part of their “handshake” agreement to be more fiscally and legislative conservative in office.

We believe the next year will be an interesting one, as the impact of this first round of conservative legislation settles in across our state. The difficult decisions made by the Legislature and the governor are an important step toward reigning in our fiscal issues, but their fallout won’t be easy to swallow: courts closed due to layoffs, state workers facing higher insurance costs; and unhappy educators adjusting to changes in the laws that have governed them for years.

And when issues get uncomfortable, perhaps we would be wise to remember what Sen. Taylor so succinctly said: It’s what voters asked for, and it’s what they expected from their newly elected lawmakers.