Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

This #GivingTuesday, whatever is your first priority, your second priority has to be independent media.

2021 has been one of the most dangerous and difficult years for independent journalism that we’ve ever seen. Our democracy is facing existential threats including the climate emergency, vaccine apartheid amid deadly pandemic, a global crisis for biodiversity, reproductive freedoms under assault, rising authoritarianism worldwide, and corporate-funded corruption of democracy that run beneath all of this. Giving Tuesday is a critical opportunity to make sure our journalism remains funded so that we can stay focused on all your priority issues. Please contribute today to keep Common Dreams alive and growing.

Please Help This #GivingTuesday -- Though our content is free to all, less than 1% of our readers give. We’re counting on you. Please help Common Dreams end the year strong.

Americans cast ballots

State lawmakers nationwide have introduced bills in response to the nonexistent voter fraud that was the hallmark of the recent presidential election. (Photo: Joe Shlabotnik/Flickr/cc)

Alongside Bills to Tackle Nonexistent Voter Fraud, State Lawmakers Take On Variety of Topics

In South Carolina, the Legislature added a third method the condemned can select in order to enter the state prescribed state—the firing squad.

Christopher Brauchli

"Now and then an innocent man is sent to the legislature."
—Frank McKinney Hubbard, Saying

The good news on the legislative front comes from assorted state legislatures. They remind us that with the ubiquitous frenzy in many states to pass legislation to ensure that the kind of nonexistent voter fraud that was the hallmark of the recent presidential election is properly addressed, at least some state legislators have found time to enact legislation that has nothing to do with voter fraud, thus proving some legislators can chew gum and walk at the same time.

During the same week that the 232nd mass shooting of 2021 took place... Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, signed a law that will allow anyone over the age of 21 to carry a handgun without a permit.Last week we examined South Carolina. That state's Legislature took advantage of the 2021 session to expand the execution choices available to those on death row. Until the legislature stepped in, those sentenced to death in South Carolina were given only two choices of how they would like for the sentence to be carried out—lethal injection or the electric chair. In throwing a bone, as it were, to the soon to be executed, the Legislature added a third method the condemned can select in order to enter the state prescribed state—the firing squad. It was only a coincidence that within weeks after the South Carolina Legislature acted, the U.S. Supreme Court was given the opportunity to consider a Missouri man's request that he be executed by firing squad instead of lethal injection. His appeals, addressing the issue of how he would like to be dispatched, had gone on for years. In his last appeal, requesting that he be executed by firing squad instead of lethal injection, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit ruled that his request was filed too late and refused to honor it. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to get involved in the discussion. South Carolina was not, of course, the only state to find the time to address issues other than the election process. Texas and Alabama also got in on the act.

In Texas, during the same week that the 232nd mass shooting of 2021 took place in California, a shooting in which eight people were killed, Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, signed a law that will allow anyone over the age of 21 to carry a handgun without a permit. Trumpeting the passage of that bill and ignoring the 2021 mass shooting bonanza, Abbott described the legislation as "the strongest Second Amendment legislation in Texas history." In a similar vein U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (who last seized the spotlight when he went to a beach in Mexico to escape the Covid quarantine and the cold weather Texas suffered in the winter) said, "I applaud Texas legislators for passing this landmark legislation to make constitutional carry a reality and to protect the right of law-abiding citizens."

In Alabama the Legislature dealt with a somewhat less fraught issue. It was confronted with the vexing problem of yoga instruction in the public schools. Until the Legislature acted during its recently concluded session, it had taken a dim view of yoga and addressed it in simple fashion. It said the local boards of education could decide whether to offer yoga and that it was an elective subject. It further provided, however, that instruction was limited to "poses, exercises, and stretching techniques" and provided that all "poses, exercises, and stretching technique shall have exclusively English descriptive names."

Notwithstanding the statutory provisions that appeared to permit limited yoga instruction in Alabama, the State Board of Education completely banned yoga in the public schools in 1993. The ban was found in the Alabama State Board of Education's Administrative Code. The code specifically prohibited any techniques that involve "the induction of hypnotic states, guided imagery, meditation, or yoga." The ban was reinforced in the Alabama Physical Education Instructional Guide. That guide does not limit itself to addressing yoga. It also addresses certain other activities that are to be avoided in public schools. Among the activities to be avoided are those that "over-empathize fun with no purposes or objective" and "limit maximum participation by a majority of students." In order to instruct those in charge as to what activities might be considered as over-emphasizing fun with no purpose or objective, the guide lists "specific student games or activities to avoid." The games to be avoided include: "Crack the whip, dodge ball, Doggy, doggy, where's you bone? Duck, duck, goose... Heads up, seven up... Messy backyard... Red light, green light, Red Rover, Relay races, Simon says... Steal the bacon." It is not known whether ending the ban on yoga will also end the ban on the games listed above.

Although the legislation seems to move Alabama in the direction that is being taken by the rest of the country with respect to yoga, it provides that "all poses, exercises, and stretching techniques shall have exclusively English descriptive names. It says "chanting, mantras, mudras,, use of mandalas... and namaste greetings shall be expressly prohibited." It requires a signed parental consent that includes an acknowledgement by the parent that yoga "is part of the Hinduism religion" and describes a variety of yoga activities that are prohibited.

Although the Legislature was able to expand the ability of those wanting to participate in yoga classes, it found a way to limit the ability of those wanting to participate in the electoral process. It banned curbside voting.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
Christopher Brauchli

Christopher Brauchli

Christopher Brauchli is a columnist and lawyer known nationally for his work. He is a graduate of Harvard University and the University of Colorado School of Law where he served on the Board of Editors of the Rocky Mountain Law Review. For political commentary see his web page at humanraceandothersports.com.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

New Climate Study Predicting More Rain Than Snow in the Arctic 'Rings Alarm Bells'

"There are huge ramifications of these changes," said the lead researcher, "all of which have implications on wildlife populations and human livelihoods."

Jessica Corbett ·


Durbin Introduces Amendment to End 'Legacy of Cruelty' by Closing Guantánamo

"It's time at long last to face reality and... close the detention facility at Guantánamo. Let's put this dark chapter behind us once and for all."

Brett Wilkins ·


As Executives Hike Prices, US Corporations Rake in Biggest Profits Since 1950

"Prices are high," said Sen. Sherrod Brown, "because corporations are raising them—so they can keep paying themselves with ever-larger executive bonuses and stock buybacks."

Jake Johnson ·



47 Groups Urge Congress to Avert 'Human Rights Failure' by Blocking Biden's Saudi Arms Sale

"The Biden administration in its very first weeks committed both to center human rights in foreign policy and to end U.S. complicity in the war in Yemen. Allowing this sale to stand breaks that commitment."

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo