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MEETING NOTES: August 20, 2022, The Secret Bed & Breakfast, Leesburg, Alabama
In attendance:
Kris Cook
Matthew Schroeder
Carolyn Schroeder
Shane Coker
Richard Comston
Rodney Green
Justin Matney
Brenda Matney
Blythe Joslin
Amanda Nash
Ken Palmer
Fred Johnson
Gia Johnson
James “Ghost” Johnson
Paul Hebda
Freddy Clark
Ira Jones
Patty Jones (guest)
Michelle Lunsford (Guest)
Kris passed out meeting notes from the previous meeting, along with a treasurer’s report. Cowboy made the motion to approve, Blythe seconded, notes and treasurer’s report are approved.
Our special guest, Michelle Lunsford, of Hands Free Alabama, spoke to us about how her legislative year went. The session is over, so things are in a lull right now. She said it was a frustrating session.
Her story: 2/22/18, her daughter was distracted and crashed into the back of a semi, on I-65, near Pelham, where construction was going on. She was on her phone recording a happy birthday message for a friend and didn’t notice that traffic in front of her had slowed drastically. She didn’t survive.
Michelle’s hand-free bill passed the house in 2019, but not the senate. In 2022, it fell three votes short of passing the house. One reason it failed was because some lawmakers said it might result in racial profiling.
Michelle said she has no one to carry the bill right now. There will be 50 freshmen next year – we all need to make a phone call to get in touch with our legislators to find out where they stand. Senator Jabo Waggoner (R-16) might be a possibility. She talked to him last year. Our bill is patterned after Georgia’s.
Michelle holds teen driver summits when she can. That might be a good place to present our Share the Road curriculum. She also works with TADD: Teen Drivers Against Distracted Driving.
Jennifer Smith, another possible resource, has founded a website called She lost her mother to a cell phone distracted driver. She could be a possible ally next session. She has statistics available at: Freddy noted that we could really use statistics from other states when we go to talk to our representatives. Cowboy suggested we see if MADD wants to ally with us.
24 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving. 14 more, including Alabama, ban handheld cell phone use by novice drivers. Rodney wondered if the requirements are any different for CDL drivers.
We will get in touch with Jamie Kiel so that we can support him if he brings the helmet freedom law again in 2023. We will see if he can come to our next meeting.
Freddy, as ABATE’s Legislative Liaison, will be working on a bill to modify the Ad Valorem property class for motorcycles, to put them in line with transportation instead of recreational vehicles. It’s a 5% difference on the assessment ratio used to assess the .5% Ad Valorem tax you pay when you get your tag.
We discussed possible lawmakers to ask if they would help us in the 2023 legislative session.
We need to come up with a fundraising ride for our own treasury – maybe a ride to Gatlinburg. We do not want to be asked to sponsor rides for charity.
We also need to talk to the AL COC clubs about supporting the helmet freedom bill if it comes up next session.
Blythe reported on the performance of our Facebook page and our website. We were up 63% on views on Facebook. The website had a surprising number of visits.
We need to get posters up and flyers available in all the state’s motorcycle shops. Kris will work on this after the first of the year.
Our next meeting is at 2 PM on Saturday, October 15, at Natchez Trace Harley-Davidson, 595 US-72 West, Tuscumbia, AL 35674