Editorial: "Flexing" over legislature's school bill

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - There's been a whole lot of flexing going on over the past week. The first flex came from the Republican supermajority as they pushed through HB 84 "The Alabama Accountability Act of 2013" which authorizes the establishment of innovative schools and school systems in the State of Alabama.

Hold your horses say the Democrats sitting in the minority, as they quickly and angrily responded with a flex of their own responding to what they best described as a "bait and switch" bill.  The bill they thought they were dealing with entering into committee (9 pages) and what they were dealt coming out of committee (27 pages) left them scratching their heads as to what the Republicans were trying to get away with.

Then the School Superintendents of Alabama, the Alabama Association of School Boards and the AEA all flexed their collective muscles by either urging the Governor to consider executive amendments to six areas of the current bill or filing a lawsuit to block the passage of the bill into law.

This is not an editorial today on whether HB 84 will move Alabama's educational system in the right direction. That discussion will come at a later time.  This is a commentary on how Alabama legislation comes together in the first place. The transparency the supermajority campaigned on and the lack of it as this bill came together is troubling.  The optics our legislators' screaming at each other during session is not one that will put Alabama parents at ease.  As a matter of fact, it will do quite the opposite.  So here's a thought, slow important legislation down, debate it until you're red in the face and then and only then, put it out there for a vote with everyone fully informed and on the record.  You may still disagree with the direction of the bill but at least you and we will be confident in the process to enact into law.

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