Senator Williams’ bill seeks to protect Alabamians Privacy
January 26, 2017
Southern Torch (3854 articles)
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Senator Williams’ bill seeks to protect Alabamians Privacy

PHOTO: The ‘Alabama Privacy Act,’ which will be up for debate this year, seeks to protect the rights of the population at large. (File Photo | Wikimedia Commons)

By Tyler Pruett, Managing Editor

tyler@southerntorch.com

MONTGOMERY, Ala. Senate Bill 1, also known as the “Alabama Privacy Act,” has been officially filed for this year’s legislative session. While some have accused the bill of targeting transgender rights, the bill’s sponsor, Senator Phil Williams (R – Rainbow City), who represents part of DeKalb County, maintains that it’s not about denying rights, but about protecting them. (Click here to view the Draft of Senate Bill 1)

Senator Phil Williams (R – Rainbow City) represents much of Etowah County, along with part of Cherokee and DeKalb County.

While much of the national conversation about similar bills focuses on denying, “transgender rights.” Very little of the conversation is focused on protecting the rights of average citizens who are only looking to use the bathroom without the drama.

The topic took the national stage when the Obama Administration issued a directive through the Education and Justice Departments last May; ordering schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom or locker room that corresponds to the gender they identify with.  

Obama would later issue an executive order to reaffirm the directive, and many states sued the federal government, with Alabama being among them. Back in May of last year, (before the executive order was issued) Senator Williams filed a bill to seeking to protect all citizens rights. 

“I did a great deal of research on it using my legal background, and I’ve come to the sincere belief that federal law has protections in place for what is known as the ‘Right to Privacy and Security,’ and it’s not just the physical right, but also the mental right,” explained Senator Williams.

While William’s bill was filed last year, it didn’t make it to the senate floor due to the dead-locking debate over the appropriation of the BP oil spill funds. Since its introduction, there have been many misconceptions about the bill, including accusations that the bill would force people to be “screened” before entering the bathroom. 

“You have that right to privacy. I’ve decided that businesses like Target or Planet Fitness, they have completely thrown away (the right to privacy) for most of the population,” Williams explained. “They’ve decided they know what’s best for people, and that they are going to enact public policy through their business.”

Williams made clear that the required attendant would only be to ensure all citizen’s right to privacy and security, and not to check on an individual’s gender. The bill is also more directed towards the businesses that make decisions that some perceive to be bypassing public debate and attempting to enact policy. 

“If you are a business or entity that puts an official policy in place of allowing transgender use of bathrooms and locker rooms,” Williams said. “If you are going to say that’s your official policy, you have got to ante up and be there for the public at large, and not just a small segment of them.”

While the original directive from the Obama Administration stated that transgender students deserve, “an environment free from discrimination, harassment, and violence.” The Alabama Privacy Act seeks to protect those rights for the rest of us.

Southern Torch

Southern Torch

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