During the just-completed session of the legislature, the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Study Commission was created to review how other states govern and regulate the alcohol business. Othni Lathram is director of the Alabama Law Institute and also serves as chief of staff for this new commission.
He recently spoke to the annual meeting of the Alabama Brewers Guild.
One of his statements literally jumped off the page as I read it.
“It’s important before decisions are made, that (legislators) hear from folks who are affected by them and know what that does to your businesses, what that does to your customers and what that does to the state as a whole,” he said.
This is advice that is so logical that one wonders why it even needs to be expressed. Isn’t it common sense to expect our law makers to always engage those who understand a profession or industry before they draft and pass a bill impacting it?
But then you remember back to Feb. 28, 2013 when our law makers passed the Alabama Accountability Act and later boasted that, though it was probably the most radical education policy ever legislated in this state, they made sure no one in the education community knew anything about it.
There has to be a moral in this story somewhere, but I’m struggling to find it. Surely it is not that our lawmakers place a higher priority on the alcohol business than they do on the education business.