Senate should follow House’s lead on 2 bills

Published 9:28 pm Wednesday, February 25, 2009

When it hasn’t been stalled, our state Legislature — the House of Representatives, anyway — has been producing some worthwhile legislation.

Two bills we like came out of the House on Tuesday and will now go to the Senate for debate. The first bill would make it easier for law enforcement officers to arrest sexual predators that use computers to lure their victims.

Though many predators have been caught and prosecuted in Alabama, some have gotten off because of loopholes in state law. The bill sponsored by Rep. Steve McMillan, R-Gulf Shores, would allow charges to be brought against a predator even if the victim is actually an undercover law enforcement officer, according to The Associated Press. The House voted 84-0 in favor of the bill

Also, a related bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Lea Fite, D-Jacksonville, would allow police to confiscate computers and other electronic equipment used to lure a minor for sexual relations.

The other topic the House has tackled is teenage drivers. A law sponsored by Rep. Mac Gipson, R-Prattville, would require some 16- and 17-year-olds to have a restricted driver’s license. The bill would ban young drivers from having more than one person in a vehicle with them at the same time, would establish an 11 p.m. curfew on weekends and would require 15- and 16-year-olds with a learner’s permit to have a licensed driver with them who is 21-years-old or older.

The restricted license for young drivers bill passed the House by an 80-10 margin. We hope the Senate is as in favor of limiting young drivers and stopping sexual predators as the House and that these bills become law soon.