A Montgomery judge has struck down Alabama's tax credits for parents who move their children from failing public schools to private schools.
Circuit Judge Gene Reese ruled Wednesday that the Alabama Accountability Act is unconstitutional. He said it violates the state Constitution's requirement for the Legislature to have only one subject in a bill.
The Legislature passed the law in 2013. It was challenged in court by members of the state teachers' organization, the Alabama Education Association.
Gov. Robert Bentley is spending the weekend trying to round up legislative support for his proposal to delay Alabama's new private school tax credits for two years.
Bentley spoke Saturday at the Alabama League of Municipalities convention in Montgomery and urged several hundred city officials to contact their legislators before the Legislature's last meeting day on Monday. Bentley said he's also contacting legislators by letter and in person.
The architect of Alabama's new private school tax credits intends to block the governor's proposal to delay the tax breaks for two years.
Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh of Anniston said families of children trapped in failing schools need the option of school choice now. Marsh said Thursday he intends to block the governor's proposal, either by getting the Legislature to reject it or never bringing it up for a vote.
The new law provides tax credits for parents who send their children to private schools rather than public schools rated as failing.
The Alabama Legislature is one step away from passing a bill that would make sure private schools and non-failing public schools don't have to take students who want to transfer from failing public schools.
The bill making transfers optional won approval in the House last week and in the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday. The bill by Republican Rep. Jim Carns of Mountain Brook now goes to the Senate for what could be a final vote.
The Alabama Supreme Court has cleared the way for the governor to sign a bill to provide tax credits to some parents who send their children to private schools.
The Alabama Education Association sued over the legislation, and Montgomery County Circuit Judge Charles Price temporarily blocked the governor from signing the bill.
The Alabama Supreme Court ruled Wednesday the lawsuit is premature and ordered it dismissed. AEA attorney Bobby Segall said the court indicated the suit should be filed after the governor signs the bill, and that's what AEA intends to do.
The Alabama Supreme Court can decide whether the governor gets to sign private school tax credits into law.
Republican legislative leaders want the all-Republican court to lift a temporary restraining order issued by a Democratic judge. The order by Circuit Judge Charles Price of Montgomery keeps the governor from signing the bill into law while the judge considers a lawsuit filed by the Alabama Education Association. AEA contends the Legislature improperly passed the bill to provide tax credits to parents who move their children from failing public schools to private schools.