Alabama’s big-city mayors focus on Glock switch ban, economic development
MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Meeting in the Port City, the mayors of Alabama’s 10 most populous cities took a cruise near the Port of Mobile and discussed issues of mutual interest.
Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson, who concerned the first of these quarterly get-togethers in 2014, said the mayors are finalizing their 2023 legislative agenda.
“I’m gonna say, we’re very, very close to being on exact same page with what will be on this legislative agenda,” he said. “But I’d like to defer about 10 days to tell you what that’s gonna be.”
Although the group has no specific proposals ready to roll out, the mayors said the topics are clear – improving public safety and creating jobs. Stimpson pointed to devices that make semi-automatic pistols into machine guns. The so-called Glock switches illegal under federal law, but not state law.
“Unanimously. we recognize that you cannot allow citizens to walk around with a pistol that because some devices are whichever submachine gun,” Stimpson said.
Initially, the so-called Big 10 mayors were five – the leaders of Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa. It later expanded to include the 10 most populous cities. The group on Monday celebrated a victory is achieved last year with passage of Aniah’s Law, which gives judge broader discretion to deny bail. The voters approved it in November, and it already has been applied twice in Mobile.
Public safety is job one for any city leader, said Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed.
“We spend a considerable amount of our time every single day thinking about the safety of our citizens and what we can continue to do to make them safe in all 10 of our cities,” he said.
Economic development is the other main focus. Stimpson said he explained to his colleagues how the Port of Mobile benefits the entire state. Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said the mayors support reauthorizing a law that provides for tax incentives to lure big industry to the state.
“It’s very important to our community,” he said. “It’s important to our community that we can continue to have economic growth, and we can continue to have jobs coming into our area.”
Beyond the specifics legislative proposal for the session that starts in March, Stimpson said the quarterly meetings have given departments heads and opportunity to see what is working in other cities. The mayors, he added, have drawn inspiration from one another.
“During that period of time, we’ve become friends who recognize that we’re all dealing with the same challenges – maybe at a different level,” he said. “But we have so much to gain by sharing information, and that’s really what it’s about. … There’s so much that has been done, probably, unbeknowing to the citizens of our cities simply because one mayor shared a way to solve a challenge.”
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