Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Only In Alabama

Why is this turd of a senator being voted for here again and again? Only comment on this if you contacted him and told him to support to support the transportation bill.

Sessions Amendment Threatens Core Bike Funding
Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions is offering an amendment today, Monday May 16, which would slash funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects in the Senate transportation bill. Although the measure is not expected to pass, The League of American Bicyclists is urging its supporters to contact their Senators to ask them to oppose the Sessions Amendment (646).

A strong show of support for bicycle and pedestrian project funding will help us in the final stages of negotiation: the conference committee between House and Senate members that will convene after the Senate has passed its bill (SAFETEA). The Senate is expected to end debate on SAFETEA as early as Tuesday.

Contact your senator by e-mail, visit http://www.senate.gov/ and then go to your senator’s individual Web site to find contact information.

Senator Sessions’ amendment seeks to reduce the overall funding level in the Senate transportation bill by $11bn (to bring it in line with the funding level approved by the Budget Committee on which Sessions serves) – and proposes to do it by slashing funding for two of the primary funding sources for bicycling and walking projects.

The amendment will cut funding for public transit by $5 billion, clean air improvements funded by the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program by $4 billion, community building and transportation options funded under the Transportation Enhancements program by $1.1 billion, and smart transportation strategies funded under the TCSP program by $100 million. These changes and some others total $10.7 billion.

The amendment singles out these funding programs from the dozens of programs in the proposed Senate legislation, and chooses this approach over across the board cuts. This gratuitous attack on some of the core transportation programs established by ISTEA in 1991 must be soundly rejected in order to send a message to members of Congress who will be negotiating the final bill in conference committee. They need to know that cutting these programs is simply not an option.


the milkman said...

This is too much. Write this guy and tell him what is the what! He obviously has no idea what's going on. I'm getting sick just thinking about it.

clintpatty said...

I usually like Sessions, but I don't like this. I sent him a message mostly about how it's fiscally conservative to fund bicycle and pedestrian projects and infrastructure.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to hear that.

Back in the spring of 1986, after having successfully appointed scores and scores of conservative judges to serve on courts across the country, President Ronald Reagan went too far. He picked a federal prosecutor to a fill a vacancy on the U.S. District Court in Alabama whose nomination was so controversial that it got quashed by the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee.

That prosecutor was Jeff Sessions, the senator who, in all likelihood will serve as that committee's most powerful Republican for the next year and a half.

But back to 1986. During the debate over his nomination, committee Democrats questioned Sessions' prosecutorial discretion, focusing in particular on a case he pursued against three Marion, AL civil rights workers--Albert Turner, Turner's wife Evelyn, and Spencer Hogue, Jr.--whom he accused of voter fraud. Sessions was unconcerned with claims of fraud outside the so-called Black Belt, but he alleged that the trio had falsified absentee ballots in Perry County during the 1984 election. After conducting an exhaustive investigation, though, he was able to account for only a small handful of questionable examples, and even those he couldn't pin on his defendants, who were acquitted after only a few hours' deliberation.

Albert Turner--who was an adviser to Martin Luther King, Jr.--passed away in 2000, and his wife could not be immediately located, but Hogue still lives in Marion, and by phone today he expressed his displeasure with the news that Sessions is, in effect, getting a promotion.

"I don't know why he'd be promoted," Hogue said. "It will give him more power to do things he shouldn't."

"We were trying to get the right to vote," Hogue said. "He tried to persecute us."

Sessions has tried to reduce the crack/powder cocaine sentencing disparity, which mandates a five-year minimum term in prison for trafficking either 500 grams of powder or 5 grams of crack. Sessions says that the 100-fold disparity should be made a 20-fold disparity by lowering the cocaine threshold to 400 grams and increasing the crack threshold to 20 grams.

This wasn't always his position. "I, as a prosecutor, agreed with many in the law enforcement community in 1986 to support a 5-year mandatory minimum sentence for 5 grams of crack and for 500 grams of powder," Sessions said in May, 2002. "The purpose of supporting the same 5-year sentence for such different amounts of essentially the same drug was based in large part on an effort to stop the rapid spread of crack into African-American neighborhoods. It was also based on the fear that pregnant women on crack would make their babies addicts - this was the "crack baby" phenomenon."

(The Clinton administration tried to reduce the 100-fold disparity into a 10-fold disparity, but Sessions found that formulation too fair to crack-users).

Throughout his Senate career, Sessions has argued--and still argues--that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires southern jurisdictions to obtain approval from the Justice Department before making changes to their electoral processes, should be scrapped. This is a standard position among Southern Republicans, who say that the South has come a long way since the 1960s and that there will be no risk of disenfranchisement to minority communities if states and districts could alter their voting procedures on their own.

They may get their wish--the Supreme Court is currently considering a challenge to Section 5 and many observers expect that the right-leaning court will, in the coming days, rule its provisions unconstitutional.

An email to Sessions' press secretary asking whether the senator still believes the case against Hogue was properly litigated--and whether the elimination of Section 5 of the VRA might make organizers more susceptible to unfair prosecution--was not immediately returned.

Tyler said...

If anyone supports sessions They need to watch the video posted above.

I dare to still defend your position on sessions after watching it.