There were a number of contenders this year. Rep. K.L. Brown, R-Jacksonville, bravely presented a medical-marijuana bill that was doomed from the start — as may be any legislation that makes any drug but alcohol legal and available in Alabama.
Also destined for defeat was the effort to raise the state sales tax on cigarettes to help pay for Medicaid, which pays for many of the illnesses people get from smoking cigarettes. In its final form, the charter school bill was also DOA when even its original sponsor refused to support it.
This year, competition for the Shroud Award was keen.
Nevertheless, the 2012 award went to Rep. Jim Barton, R-Mobile, for his audacious attempt to take money intended for the little-used Confederate Memorial Park near Clanton and give it to other state parks that are used by more Alabamians.
How, you ask, can it be that a park memorializing the Lost Cause has money while other parks go begging? It’s because Alabama still collects the tax that was originally collected for Confederate widows. Since there are no widows left, it goes to the park.
Thus, it seems logical that Alabama’s legislators — who are more than willing to raid other funds and move money around during these hard times — would pass Barton’s bill without a second thought.
Stung by suggestions that diverting the money would be an insult to the memory of the men in gray who fought so gallantly so long ago, 54 of Alabama’s politically correct legislators voted to kill the bill and let the other parks (and the public) suffer the consequences.
In accepting the award, Barton admitted the folly of his plan and observed that “you can’t hide stupidity.”
We are left to wonder if he was talking about himself or the gallant 54.