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this Legislature. We must continue our efforts with diligence and dedication to bring an end to the continued increases in utility rates which have been imposed on the people. The importance of this issue is emphasized by the fact that the gross revenues of the three major utilities in Alabama only three of them - approximated the total tax receipts for the State of Alabama in 1975.
The people of Alabama are looking to this Legislature to take action to provide the necessary legislation to make more effective regulation possible.
One of the greatest — if not THE greatest tragedies our time is the staggering rise in the crime rate. In economic terms, the cost to our national economy has been estimated at between 50 and 100 billion dollars. But in human terms, the heaviest burden falls upon the victims of murder, rape, robbery, drug use, and other crimes.
Since government was first organized, one of the prime duties and responsibilities has been the protection and preservation of the life and property of its citizens. The right to feel secure is embedded in our Constitution. Yet, Government appears to place less and less importance on the rights and privileges of the victims of crime while forgetting and neglecting the life and property of the victims.
In large degree, the courts have pampered and protected the so-called "rights of the criminals" with light sentences and probation to the point that fear of punishment is no longer a deterrent. If it is the constitutional duty of courts to protect the rights of the accused, then it is the duty of the Legislature to protect the rights of the peaceful law-abiding citizens.
Toward that end, I am recommending, and will have introduced, a package of bills dealing with crime, a portion of which would impose strict and certain punishment on habitual criminals who have committed violent crimes, legislation to require the serving of the entire sentence without parole by a person convicted of violent crimes resulting in injury to another person; legislation to require a mandatory life sentence without parole for a person convicted of his third crime of violence; and legislation to impose a mandatory additional one to ten years sentence on those persons convicted of felonies in which firearms are used.
I call upon you to support this package of legislation so that we can get more of the criminals convicted and off the streets.
I would like to discuss for a moment another important
matter that may come before the Legislature this Session. is my understanding that there will be legislation introduced that would provide HOME RULE for local governments of this State. I support the concept of Home Rule and I want to take a moment to explain why.
Excluding resolutions, there were somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,000 bills introduced during the 1975 Regular Session of the Legislature. There were over 900 local bills introduced during the Session. This means that approximately onethird of all bills introduced during that Session were local bills affecting only one city or one county. Add to these the dozens of general bills affecting only cities and counties and you can only conclude that this Legislature is spending a great deal of its valuable time working on problems that should be taken care of by our local officials.
I think it is time for this Legislature to get on about the business of State Government and let local officials get on about the business of local government.
* * I am sure all of the members of the Legislature are keenly aware of the problem created for county and municipal governments by the Supreme Court's recent decisions abolishing governmental immunity. I have previously called this problem to your attention. Local governments are now subject to huge damage suits and verdicts. You have probably read of the filing of multi-million dollar damage suits against some of our cities. A tremendously large judgment against any of our counties or any of our cities would indeed be disastrous. Local governmental agencies need protection in this field and it is important that this Legislature afford this protection by enacting a comprehensive bill to permit counties and municipalities to limit their liability on tort claims and to purchase insurance to protect themselves. I urge your favorable action on legislation to solve this problem.
I invite your attention to these and other matters of concern to the Legislative and Executive Branches of State Government. I will be glad to receive your comments and suggestions and I pledge to you my cooperation in meeting the challenges now facing our Great State.
And Joint Resolutions
REGULAR SESSION 1976
Act No. 1
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION COMMENDING THE LEE HIGH SCHOOL BAND OF HUNTSVILLE, ALABAMA, ON THEIR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENTS.
WHEREAS, the Lee High School Band of Huntsville, Alabama, was selected as the “Greatest Band in Dixie” on February 29, 1976, in New Orleans, Louisiana; and
WHEREAS, they have performed for the Atlanta Falcons, the New Orleans Saints, and have been the feature band on three occasions for the Alabama International Motor Speedway in Talladega, Alabama; and
WHEREAS, they have performed for Sky-Lab Crew I at the Alabama Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville and have performed for the Governor on his visits to Huntsville; and
WHEREAS, the band and its director have worked diligently, long and hard to achieve their outstanding record; and
WHEREAS, they have been faithfully supported by their parents in their hard and diligent work; now therefore
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA, BOTH HOUSES THEREOF CONCURRING, That we do most heartily congratulate the Lee High School Band and wish them every success in their future endeavors.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Clerk of the House send copies of this resolution to Band Director, Robert Baccus, and School Principal, Jasper Jenkins.
Approved May 18, 1976.
Act No. 2
"Joe" Goodwyn have arranged for the painting and framing of a portrait of Senator Goodwyn and,
WHEREAS, such friends of Senator Goodwyn's are desirous of presenting said portrait to the Legislature of Alabama to be hung in an appropriate place in the State Capitol.
NOW, THEREOF, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, THE SENATE CONCURRING, that a Joint Session of the House and Senate be held on Tuesday, May 11, 1976, at 1:00 P.M. for a brief ceremony for the Legislature of Alabama to pay tribute to the life and public service of Senator Goodwyn and to receive the aforesaid portrait as a gift to the Alabama Legislature from the friends of Senator Goodwyn.
Approved May 18, 1976.
Act No. 3
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION
CONGRATULATING MR. AND MRS. JOHN STANLEY FOR THEIR 47TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY
WHEREAS Mr. and Mrs. John Stanley celebrated the 47th year of their marriage on February 23rd; and
WHEREAS Mr. and Mrs. Stanley have contributed immeasurably to the betterment of their community and state; and
WHEREAS Mr. John Stanley has been quite active in many humanitarian and worthwhile causes such as playing Santa Claus for orphans and participating in the Shriners; and
WHEREAS Mrs. Lessie Stanley has contributed her time and talents to such worthwhile organizations as her church and Beta Sigma Phi Sorority; and
WHEREAS this Legislature would like to pay tribute to the Stanleys for their outstanding contributions to their community, state and nation; now therefore
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA, BOTH HOUSES THEREOF CONCURRING, That we most heartily congratulate the Stanleys upon celebrating their 47th wedding anniversary.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be sent to Mr. and Mrs. Stanley and members of their family.
Approved May 18, 1976.
Act No. 4 H.J.R. 15—Pegues, Campbell, Edwards, Lockett,
Manley, Cross, and the Entire
WHEREAS, Senator Walter C. Givhan, our beloved friend and Dean of the Legislature, died on February 18, 1976, at his Safford home; and
WHEREAS, Senator Givhan, a native of Perry County, was born May 7, 1902; attended elementary and high schools in Linden; and in 1921 received his Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture from North Georgia College, Dahlonega, Georgia; and
WHEREAS, Senator Givhan served untiringly and with unselfish dedication in the Alabama Legislature for over 38 years, establishing more tenure in the legislature than anyone in Alabama history; and
WHEREAS, Senator Givhan was first elected to the House in 1930, where he served for sixteen years and in 1954 was elected for the first of six terms in the Senate; and
WHEREAS, this greaat leader's record of service is legendary-he was the leader in 1935 in the establishment of the Alabama Milk Control Board and Alabama Dairy Commission, thus stabilizing the milk industry in the State; he was instrumental in the establishment of a system of trade schools and junior colleges throughout the State; he fought for an inland docks system; he acted as an advocate for an improved highway system; and he was affectionately recognized as the "father of the Soybean movement in Alabama”; and
WHEREAS, this Black Belt farmer exhibited his abiding love for agriculture in crusading for agricultural benefits for the agri-business industry and during the last quarter of a century every major piece of legislation that had a bearing on farmers carried the indelible Givhan seal; and