Posted by: Max Reiss
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WSFA) - A Federal Judge in Huntsville has ruled, for the time being, in favor of the Alabama Education Association in its case against the state over one of the laws passed during the Special Session of the Alabama Legislature in December.
Governor Robert Bentley's office said that while he was disappointed with the ruling, Bentley is confident the state will ultimately prevail on the merits of the case.
The AEA argued that Senate Bill 2, also known as the "Dues check-off" bill hurt the organization financially and negatively impacted its membership.
Governor Bob Riley signed the bill into law, which made the practice of public employees deducting part of their state paycheck to a group that participated in political activity illegal.
House Speaker Mike Hubbard had said it was unethical for the state to "bear the cost" of contributing to political activity.
Teachers argued during the Special Session that it took a right of theirs away. The AEA has long been a very powerful teachers advocacy group in the state.
The judge issued a temporary restraining order on the law. It was one of seven anti-corruption measures passed by lawmakers during a 6 day Special Session that Governor Riley called in one of his last acts in office.
Dr. Paul Hubbert, the Executive Director of the Alabama Education Association testified against the bill. Immediately after the new law was put into place, Hubbert told WSFA 12 News that the group's membership had increased. In court, Hubbert claimed the law created a financial burden on the organization by taking away one of it's primary fundraising techniques.
Previously, it had been legal for state employees to deduct part of their paycheck, through their agency, to an organization of their choice. The law was put into effect immediately after it was signed.