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Protesters say pay raise is wrong

By M.J. Ellington · (334) 262-1104

MONTGOMERY — A Falkville resident in an American flag shirt hoisted his protest sign in front of the Statehouse on Tuesday and voiced his unhappiness with the Legislature’s 62 percent pay raise.

Ray Lawrimore, sporting red, white and blue, was at the rally to protest the increase. He said he is unhappy with anyone who voted for the increase.

“Every person who voted for it should be voted out of here,” he said.

But who voted for the increase? People like Lawrimore came to the capital with only their legislators’ statements. There was no recorded vote.

‘King of Pork’

The signs were not charitable. One showed a picture of a pig face with the word “Zeb” for Senate Majority Leader Zeb Little, D-Cullman, on its forehead and “King of Pork” underneath. “I’ve got two words for ya: ‘Hell No,’ ” read another.

Gov. Bob Riley vetoed the increase Tuesday and protesters said they wanted lawmakers to let the veto stand.

Lawrimore was one of 200 to 250 people who gathered with signs and listened to speakers protesting the raise.

A talk radio station in Birmingham organized the rally. Matt Murphy of 101.1 FM told the group that while the Democratic majority in the Legislature pushed the measure, a number of Republicans stayed quiet and did not oppose it.

Lawrimore’s sign read, “Arthur Orr, Ronald Grantland: No 62 percent.” Both lawmakers represent the area where Lawrimore votes. But Orr, who came up to meet Lawrimore after the rally, reminded him that he did not vote for the measure when it passed on a voice vote in the Senate.

“It is the way they did this more than the amount of the increase that bothers me,” Lawrimore said.

If the increase had been 20 percent, Lawrimore said he might have been at home working in his contracting business. As it was, he said it was important to be in Montgomery. He said he tried to talk to Lt. Gov. Jim Folsom, but Folsom got on an elevator. Lawrimore said Folsom would not look at him

FOCAL and Home Care Centers of Alabama brought children who attend state subsidized day care for low-income, working parents. They held signs with messages. “Don’t Forget about me,” read one. “Child Care Providers are teachers, too. Please raise their salaries,” read another.

Katrina Lister of Madison County said care providers have not had a raise since 2001.

Sens. Charles Bishop, R-Jasper, Harri Anne Smith, R-Slocomb, and Henry Erwin, R-Montevallo told the group they objected to the raise.

No lawmakers from Morgan, Lawrence and Limestone counties attended the rally.

However, Orr came up afterwards. He said he had just arrived in Montgomery.

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