Ala. House bill filed that would strengthen sentences of drug deals around churches

Ala. House bill filed that would strengthen sentences of drug deals around churches

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WAFF) - A proposal at the state capitol would penalize illegal drug sales within three miles of any place of worship.

Rep. Laura Hall, D-Madison County, sponsored House Bill 56.

If passed, drug or drug paraphernalia convictions would carry a “five years’ incarceration in a state corrections facility with no provision for probation" on top of “any penalties provided by law for any person convicted of an unlawful sale of a controlled substance.”

Hall said she doesn’t want the bill passed as she wrote it, but it addresses a need in her community.

She said it includes negotiating pieces as she works on it with the judiciary committee.

Hall said The Fellowship of Faith Church pastor Troy Garner “led the charge” on formulating the bill.

WAFF 48 News arranged an interview with him, where he initially said he had read the bill.

“Great, great impact. When you look at some of the stores in North Huntsville as opposed to stores in South Huntsville, they don’t have a lot of the same paraphernalia here. So if you can just get rid of some of the drug paraphernalia," he said.

He said he was concerned about the accessibility of glass bongs and grinders in local stores in his community, and hopes the bill will make kids think twice before buying them.

WAFF 48 News asked him about the penalties associated with the bill, and he said he was not familiar with them.

“I don’t want that severity, I just want my community clean," he said.

He later said he had not read the bill, and had not contacted Hall about it.

WAFF showed him a rough draft of the bill, and he said:

“I’m glad something is being done, but again, it’s still alarming to know, that if I person get caught with a 3-5 mile radius of the church, they could go to prison for 5 years.”

Garner said he will speak with Hall to change punishment in the bill.

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