Aniah’s Law passes in Legislature, will go on statewide ballot

Aniah Blanchard's mother launches non-profit to help families searching for missing loved ones
Aniah Blanchard's mother launches non-profit to help families searching for missing loved ones(WBRC)
Updated: Apr. 15, 2021 at 1:28 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The Alabama Legislature approved “Aniah’s Law” Thursday, April 15.

The bill is named after Aniah Blanchard who was kidnapped and killed.

Aniah’s Law is a constitutional amendment sponsored by State Rep. Chip Brown (R - Mobile) that allows prosecutors and judges broader discretion in requesting and denying bail to those accused of committing violent crimes.

More than 90 state lawmakers signed on to co-sponsor the bill.

The amendment will now go on the statewide ballot for ratification by voters in a referendum election.

UPDATE: Governor Kay Ivey hosted a ceremonial signing of the bill (House Bill 130) on Thursday, June 24.

”Too many of those who are accused of violent crimes are bonding out of jail and committing even more serious offenses, and it is time for law-abiding Alabamians to start fighting back,” Brown said. “Denying bail to those accused of violent offenses is a commonsense answer to a dangerous societal problem, and following three years of hard work that was necessary to pass this amendment through the Legislature, I am confident the citizens of Alabama will vote to ratify it.”

Brown’s measure would amend the state constitution to allow judges to deny bail to individuals facing violent crime charges who they believe will place the public at risk with their release.

Aniah’s mother, Angela Hailey-Harris, has traveled across the state and spoken about her daughter and the bill. A Cullman family, who lost an uncle, is now supporting Harris as well.

Harris said, “My mission now is to save the world that is how I feel. I know I can’t save the world, but I’m gonna try. Aniah’s Law is one of the most amazing things. Our state needs it so bad. It will keep violent offenders from being out on the street out on bond.”

The man accused of killing Aniah was already facing serious offenses, but was out on bond at the time of her murder.

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