Before the anniversary of the killer tornadoes of Apr. 27, 2011, the Alabama Legislature may create a new crime that provides up to 10 years in prison for looting following a natural disaster.
The looting legislation, sponsored by Republican Rep. John Merrill of Tuscaloosa, cleared the House last month and the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, all by unanimous votes.
All the bill needs to become law is approval by the Senate and signing by the governor.
Merrill said he's optimistic that will happen before
Merrill's bill applies to looting after the governor or
president has declared a state of emergency. He said burglary laws don't always work after a natural disaster because a burglar must enter a building, and buildings are often destroyed after a natural disaster.