What Tuscaloosa Just Did

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what tuscaloosa just did

   The City of Tuscaloosa just pulled off something brilliant that every city should know about in states that aren’t already protecting their people with Shelter In Place orders. Alabama is a Dillon’s Rule state as established in the 1901 state constitution. This means that counties and cities are limited to powers expressly granted them by the Legislature. Shelter In Place orders are not one of those powers. Here’s Mayor Walt Maddox’s more detailed explanation.

   So did the city idly sit by waiting for the Governor to do the right thing? Not a chance. The Mayor was early in his first term when the catastrophic 2011 tornado hit, and so he and his team quickly learned how to get stuff done in a disaster. Last night, they pulled it off again.

   One of the powers expressly granted by the Legislature to cities is the ability to set a curfew. So the city established a 24-hour curfew beginning this weekend with all the conditions of a Shelter-In-Place order. Genius move! What a hack of the system! But in full respect of the rule of law, which is so very important to maintain in a crisis.

   If you’re in a state where the cities are similarly limited but your city or town wants to protect its people, please share this with them. Or just share broadly on social media and the cities that need the Tuscaloosa Hack will find it. As they say in these parts, Roll Tide!!

   ~Steve Mouzon

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© Stephen A. Mouzon 2020