Last week. the Alabama legislature passed a bill approving school choice in a speedy series of votes that, according to one report, left the Senate “in chaos” when the Democrats realized what had happened. In reaction to being out-gamed, Democrats in the state House and Senate have been enacting a sort of filibuster, reading full texts of bills and slowing down government with lengthy Q&A sessions. In addition, the Alabama Education Association has backed a lawsuit alleging lawmakers were in violation of the Open Meetings Act.
The legislation, which provides income tax credits to those in failing school districts, as well as provides tax credits to those who donate to scholarships that help provide for the cost of alternative schooling in these districts, essentially provides for school vouchers.
In response to the Democrats’ sour grapes, Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard said, “At the end of the day if we don’t pass as many bills, that’s OK. We’re the party of smaller government.”
Daily Caller’s Jeff Poor writes that the Republican legislature, which has been attempting to push back union control of the state, has been enacting reforms akin to what Governor Walker enacted in Wisconsin:
The newly elected Republican legislature and Republican Gov. Robert Bentley enacted measures to prohibit public employees from having dues for political activities paid through payroll draft. That measure is much like what Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker and that state’s Republican-led legislature pushed in 2011.
But perhaps the biggest blow to the AEA came last week when the state legislature passed the Alabama Accountability Act of 2013, which made school choice, private or another public school, possible for the family of a student, if he or she is attending a failing school.
The GOP has now asked the Supreme Court to act quickly and allow the bill to go to the governor, filing an emergency motion with the Alabama Supreme Court.