Not PC: Alabama Legislature’s memorable moments from over the years

Alabama News

In this image from video, Alabama Sen. Charles Bishop, R-Jasper, right, punches Democratic Sen. Lowell Barron of Fyffe, left, on the floor of the Senate, Thursday, June 7, 2007, at the Statehouse in Montgomery, Ala. (AP Photo/Alabama Public Television, Adam Vincent)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — On Tuesday, the Alabama Legislature began its latest session for 2020.

Since 1818, both the Alabama Senate and House of Representatives have taken on many issues that affect the people of Alabama. However, the Legislature itself has been the subject of many memorable moments, from fistfights and viral hoaxes to an apology for slavery and many more.

Here are a few memorable moments in history from inside the Alabama Legislature.

FIGHTS

During the last day of the 2007 regular session, Sen. Charles Bishop, R-Jasper, punched Sen Lowell Barron, D-Fyffe, during a heated discussion where Bishop alleged that Barron called him a “son of a b— ,” which Barron denied.

In an interview with The Associated Press in 2010, Bishop said he regretted resorting to violence in the heat of the moment.

“That’s one thing in my career I wish had never happened, but it will always be remembered,” he said.

AN APRIL FOOLS’ DAY JOKE

On April 1, 1998, physicist Mark Boslough wrote a joke story for the New Mexicans for Science and Reason newsletter called “Alabama Legislature Lays Siege to Pi,” which claimed that the Legislature had voted to change the numerical value of pi from 3.14159 and round it off to 3 in order to be in line with the Bible.

The story was posted online and quickly spread across the internet, resulting in angry phone calls to many Alabama legislators, who were then forced to address the story as a hoax.

A LITTLE RELIEF

In 1999, Lt. Gov. Steve Windom was under a lot of pressure. That year, state Democrats had attempted to rally enough votes to strip him of his power. For hours, Windom did not leave his chair in the Senate chambers in fear that he would be stripped of his power. Eventually, Windom had to use the bathroom and proceeded to relieve himself in a milk jug behind his desk.

APOLOGIZING FOR SLAVERY

Although slavery had been abolished over 140 years prior, the Alabama Legislature took steps to apologize for slavery in 2007.

“It sends the right message around the world that Alabama is open for business and we have put the past in the past,” former House Speaker Seth Hammett, D-Andalusia, told The Associated Press.

The House ended up passing the resolution on a voice vote while the Senate passed it 22-7. 

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE BEER WE GOT?

Rep. Alvin Holmes, D-Montgomery, one of the first black men elected to the Alabama Legislature, was well-known for saying many sensational things during his decades in politics. One of his interesting speeches was about beer.

In 2008, the Legislature was considering a bill on high-gravity beer when Holmes asked a question.

“What’s wrong with the beer we got? I mean the beer we got drinks pretty good, don’t it? I ain’t ever heard nobody complain about the beer we have,” Holmes said.

His comments quickly went viral online and were the inspiration for some parody videos.


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