MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama Rep. Ritchie Whorton’s proposal to turn on headlights from sunrise to sunset — a half-hour earlier than current law — won the House’s annual “Shroud Award” for the session’s deadest bill Thursday.
The award is a House tradition dating back 40 years. On the final day each year, the legislative body gives the winner a black suit mounted on cardboard and a bottle of embalming fluid. The resolution bestowing the award pokes fun — from light-hearted to biting — at the failed bills.
When Whorton brought his award-winning bill up for debate earlier in the session, he said he almost got into an accident near sunset and provided members a color photo of the visibility from his car at the time.
Fellow lawmakers questioned why the bill was necessary and what data he had to back it up — save for the cellphone photo. They teased him when he revealed that his car’s headlights automatically turn on.
The resolution said Whorton “did not have time on his side” and said his photo evidence was “clear proof that his phone could take a very good picture.”
The House clerk who read the resolution invited Whorton to come to the podium to accept the award and “shed a little light on the subject.”
Whorton jokingly asked for final passage of the bill, then thanked God and his wife, who he said was watching from the gallery.
Runners-up for this year’s Shroud Award included regulating eyebrow microblading and eyelash extension facilities by Rep. Rolanda Hollis, creating a former Alabama legislative members’ association by Rep. Jack Williams, and requiring the state’s Forever Wild land conservation program to pay taxes on land by Rep. Mark Tuggle.