SUMMARY: This attack ad fails the truth test miserably on a number of counts. On Montgomery alcohol sales, Brown actually voted for the more restrictive of two proposals. Fortified wine sales are not mentioned in either bill. On a bill that allowed draft beer sales in Talladega County, Brown cast no vote. He didn’t vote for beer sales, as the ad claims.
ANALYSIS: The Star’s standard practice, in making fact checks, is to call the person making the claim and ask them to offer supporting material.
In this case, that wasn’t possible. The ad came from a group called the Committee for Honest Conservative Leadership, headquartered in Prattville. The group is headed by someone named E.L. Conn, and its only public financial report was notarized by someone named Irene Goodson. Neither were available for comment.
But the assertions in the ad are just dead wrong.
HB 401 authorized the city of Montgomery to create special zones where it was possible to walk the streets with an open container of alcohol. The legislation was created in support of Montgomery’s effort to create an entertainment zone to draw people to the downtown area. Brown was not in office at the time of the initial vote on the bill. But he did vote on an amended form of the bill that allowed Montgomery to create only one zone, not multiple zones. In effect, Brown’s vote represented a paring-down of potential open-container zones.
None of the bills mentioned in the ad involve sale of fortified wine in ABC stores. At best, the authors of the ad cited the wrong bill. At worst, the assertion is a flat-out falsehood.
It is true, however, that Brown never cast a vote on HB-768, which allowed draft beer sales in Talladega County. (Note: the number of the bill was misreported in the ad.)
That bill was sponsored by local legislator Rep. Barbara Boyd. Brown said he sat the vote out to avoid going against the wishes of a local legislator on a matter that was outside his own district.
“When in the local delegation, we try to support each other as much as possible,” Brown said. “It did not adversely affect anyone in my district.”