Alabama Accountability Act back on its way to governor

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March 14, 2013

Alabama

By Andy Marshall

MONTGOMERY, Alabama: The Alabama Supreme Court vacated a temporary restraining order on Tuesday, March 12, which had been preventing Governor Robert Bentley from signing the Alabama Accountability Act, which would give families with students in failing schools tax credits toward tuition at a private or superior public school, into law. Montgomery County Circuit Judge Charles Price issued the restraining order on March 6 in response to a petition by the Alabama Education Association. Price found that the Alabama State Legislature violated Section 21 of its rules, which forbids the amending of a bill to change its original purpose, when the conference committee passed an amended version of the Alabama Accountability Act.[1] The Supreme Court, composed entirely of Republicans, disagreed with Price, a Democrat, and ruled that order was premature since the bill had not yet become law. With the restraining order lifted, the legislature's employees may now transmit the bill, passed on February 28, to Governor Bentley to sign, which he had previously indicated that he would do.[2]

Representative Chad Fincher (R) originally introduced HB 84 on February 5, and each legislative chamber passed its own version of the Alabama Accountability Act. The Alabama legislature passed the final version of House Bill 84 on February 28. The Alabama House of Representatives passed the bill by a vote of 51 to 26, and the Alabama State Senate approved the measure 22 to 11.[3]

The Alabama Education Association continued to maintain that the legislature had not followed its rules in passing the Alabama Accountability Act, and the AEA's lawyer indicated that the teachers' union planned to file suit agains the law as soon as Bentley signs it. The bill could be sent to Bentley as early as today.[2]

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