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Alabama State Senator Scott Beason Stripped of Powerful Committee Chairmanship

by Mahwish Khan on 11/16/2011 at 11:08am

scott beasonAlabama State Senator Scott Beason (R) has been getting a lot of attention lately. None of it good. He was one of the architects of the state’s viciously anti-immigrant law, HB 56. Yesterday, Beason was in the news again. From the Montgomery Advertiser:

Alabama state Senate leadership pushed Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, out of the chairmanship of a powerful committee Tuesday morning.

Senate Majority Leader Jabo Waggoner, R-Vestavia Hills, will serve as chairman of the Rules Committee, which determines which bills come to the Senate floor for debate.

The Birmingham News reports that Beason’s replacement is already talking about making changes to the anti-immigrant law. 

Key Republican senators say they are compiling a list of changes that need to be made to Alabama’s new immigration law, described as the nation’s toughest.

Sen. Jabo Waggoner, R-Vestavia Hills, who on Tuesday replaced immigration bill sponsor Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, as chairman of the powerful Senate Rules Committee, said there is wide agreement the bill had several “unintended consequences” that need to be addressed.

“We are looking at different fixes,” he said.

There need to be a lot of fixes. Repealing the law would be a good start.

Columnist Joey Kennedy, who broke the news about Beason losing his job on Twitter yesterday, also has some thoughts on why it happened:

– Beason wore a wire during the FBI’s investigation of the bribes-for-gambling scandal in the Legislature. He regularly recorded his own colleagues without their knowlege.

– On that wire, Beason is overheard making racially insensitive remarks, calling the mostly black patrons of Greenetrack, a bingo casino, “aborigines.” Beason eventually apologized for the remarks.

– U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson, in a court order, basically called the FBI’s star witnesses, Beason and a former state representative, Ben Lewis of Dothan, racists because of their recorded comments and said they were acting out of racial and political motivations, not because they wanted to expose corruption. Thompson said they were not credible as witnesses.

– It probably didn’t bother the Senate leadership all that much, but Beason, one of the sponsors of the state’s bullying immigration law, has been a cruel, insensitive spokesperson. At one time, Beason said where undocumented residents are concerned, we should “empty the clip.” Beason’s racially insensitive comments carry over in the rhetoric on immigration. He has been an embarrassment to Republicans.

– Beason also embarrassed the Senate leadership by not being a team player on some issues, including a move to block Jefferson County from replacing the revenue it lost when the county’s occupational tax was ruled void.

Also, hard to argue with this sentiment from an editorial in the Birmingham News:

State Sen. Scott Beason, it seems, was more trouble than he was worth.

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