By BOB JOHNSON
MONTGOMERY, Ala. Apr 18, 2006 (AP)
— The Alabama Legislature gave final approval to a bill that sets up a process to pardon civil rights icon Rosa Parks and hundreds of others arrested for violating segregation-era laws.
The sponsor of the bill, Democratic Rep. Thad McClammy, said the legislation could lead to pardons for Parks, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and hundreds of others convicted of violating laws aimed at keeping the races separate. McClammy said the arrests date back as far as the early 1900s.
The bill, named "The Rosa Parks Act" was amended in the Senate to allow museums such as The Rosa Parks Library and Museum in Montgomery to continue to display records of the arrests.
Parks was arrested 50 years ago for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery city bus, an event that sparked the historic Montgomery bus boycott.
"This would grant pardons on request to anyone convicted under the Jim Crow laws," McClammy said, referring to the name often used to refer to the segregation-era laws.
The House voted 91-0 to approve Senate changes and pass the bill late Monday, about two hours before the 2006 regular session of the Legislature was scheduled to end.
The legislation now goes to Gov. Bob Riley, who has not said if he plans to sign it. Spokesman Jeff Emerson said Riley would review the bill and then decide.
Some black lawmakers have questioned whether Parks and other civil rights figures should be pardoned when the laws they violated have been ruled unconstitutional.
"Martin Luther King and the others were arrested with pride," said Rep. John Rogers.
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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