A sponsor of legislation designed to clarify Alabama's new law on private school tax credits says he won't push it for one week to allow more time for suggested changes.
The Senate Education Committee held a hearing Tuesday on the bill by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh of Anniston. The committee had planned to vote on the bill Wednesday, but Marsh agreed to a request from the Alabama Association of School Boards to wait a week to consider more changes. The senator from Anniston says he's willing to talk to various groups.
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley wasted no time in signing legislation providing tax credits to parents who send their children to private schools instead of failing public schools.
The Alabama Supreme Court decided late Wednesday afternoon to throw out a lower court order that kept the Legislature from sending the bill to the governor for signing. The Legislature delivered the bill Thursday morning and Bentley signed it just before 11 a.m.
A legislative session that began with a rapid pace five weeks ago has been slowed by hard feelings over the passage of private school tax credits.
Democratic opponents of the tax credits are slowing down action in the House and Senate. House Minority Leader Craig Ford says the slowdown will resume when the Legislature meets Tuesday and will continue for the foreseeable future.
The Alabama Supreme Court has given the Alabama Education Association until Monday to respond to an effort by Republican legislators to get a private school tax credit legislation signed.
AEA got a Montgomery judge to issue a temporary restraining order barring the governor from signing the bill into law. Attorneys for Republican legislative leaders appealed to the Supreme Court and asked the court to lift the judge's order. The Supreme Court on Friday gave AEA's lawyers until Monday to respond.
A judge plans to rule Wednesday on whether the governor can sign into law a bill providing private school tax credits.
Gov. Robert Bentley had planned to sign the bill Tuesday afternoon, but Montgomery Circuit Court Judge Charles Price temporarily put that on hold while he considers a lawsuit filed by the Alabama Education Association.
Price heard arguments Tuesday afternoon on whether the Legislature violated Alabama's open meeting law and its own operating rules in passing the bill in a series of quick votes Thursday night.
The governor says running over his own education allies was worth it to get tax credits to help children in failing public schools transfer to private schools.
Gov. Robert Bentley says he and other Republican leaders didn't tell the state school superintendent and other education leaders that they were planning to expand a school flexibility bill into a tax credit bill because they would have opposed it. School Superintendent Tommy Bice says the final product caught him by surprise and it was not the school flexibility bill that he had endorsed.
The Alabama House and Senate are divided over whether a school flexibility bill should include flexibility with teacher tenure laws.
The House passed a bill Feb. 14 to allow city and county school systems to have flexibility in complying with state education laws, including tenure. The Senate rewrote the bill Thursday to exclude tenure. The House refused to go along with the Senate's changes and sent the bill to a six-member conference committee to try working out the differences.
A school flexibility bill recently passed by the Alabama House won't come up in the Senate until at least Thursday.
The Senate's Republican leadership had planned to ask the Senate to pass the bill Tuesday. But Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, says they decided to wait because three Republican senators were either absent or late Tuesday. He says he hopes to bring up the bill Thursday.
A school flexibility bill recently passed by the Alabama House is slated for debate in the Senate.
The Senate's Republican leadership plans to ask the Senate to pass the bill Tuesday. It is one of the goals for the Legislature's Republican majority this session. The bill would allow schools system to have flexibility in complying with many state education laws, provided the changes are approved by the State Board of Education. Senators say the battle will be over whether to allow flexibility in complying with teacher tenure laws.
Legislation that would allow city and county school systems to opt out of state education laws could come up for a final vote in the Senate next week.
A school flexibility bill cleared the House on Feb. 14 and was approved by the Senate Education Committee in a 5-3 vote Wednesday, with Republicans voting yes and Democrats voting no. A spokesman for Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh says the bill is a priority and could come up for a vote as early as Tuesday.
Gov. Robert Bentley says he's ready to sign whatever version of the bill the Legislature passes.
The Alabama House has approved legislation that supporters say will give local school districts the authority to make changes in rules and regulations to improve education in Alabama public schools.
The House voted 65-37 mostly along party lines to pass the legislation called the Local Control Flexibility Act. The Republican majority in the House supported the bill and said it would allow local schools to in some cases change rules and regulations that school officials feel are getting in the way of quality education.
Government consolidation and school flexibility bills will be in front of the Legislature on Thursday.
A spokesman for Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh said he expects the Senate to consider a bill to consolidate some organizations that serve the Legislature, including the bill-writing and budget-writing services. The bill is part of a package by the Senate's Republican leadership to try to save money. The Senate passed bills on Tuesday to consolidate law enforcement agencies and information technology programs.