Ala. Supreme Court dismisses restraining order on controversial - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Ala. Supreme Court dismisses restraining order on controversial school flex bill

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

The Alabama Supreme Court Wednesday afternoon dismissed a temporary restraining order that was blocking the controversial school flexibility bill from being transmitted to Governor Robert Bentley for his signature.

The Court ruling deals only with the temporary restraining order and the bill's blockage from being sent to the governor. It does not address the merits of the actual legislation.

"Enactment of legislation does not provide for judicial review during legislative process," the Court wrote, "Nor may courts force the Legislature to obey its own rules." In other words, the Supreme Court struck down the restraining order on the grounds of Separation of Power between the legislative and judicial branches.

Governor Bentley, who has publicly stated his support of HB 84, will be able to sign the legislation Thursday following the opening of the House session.

[DOCUMENT: Alabama Supreme Court Ruling (.pdf)]

[DOCUMENTRead the School Flex Bill (.pdf)]

Republicans immediately hailed the High Court's decision as a major win for school choice.  

"The Alabama Supreme Court's decision today is a loss for activist judges and status quo union bosses, but a major win for parents and children trapped in failing schools across the state," said Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh. 

"I am pleased to see the Alabama Supreme Court has dismissed the case blocking education reform in our state," said Lt. Governor Kay Ivey. But she added, "I expect this will not be the last attempt to obstruct real and lasting education reform in Alabama."

Bobby Segall, an attorney with the Alabama Education Association, told the Associated Press that the teacher's organization will file suit against the legislation after it is signed into law.

The school flex bill will provide for tax credits to parents who wish to move their children from failing schools to better ones, including private schools. 

[DOCUMENTList of failing schools (.pdf)
Note: List is unofficial and is compiled by Senate GOP caucus.

The Alabama Association of School Boards estimates the legislation will cost the state more than $367 million. 

The bill was forced through the Alabama Legislature on Feb. 28 by the Republican supermajority but was immediately challenged in court by the AEA and Democrat lawmakers who felt the passage was a "bait and switch" violation of the state's Open Meetings Act.

Montgomery County Circuit Judge Charles Price had expanded his temporary restraining order last week, which Republicans promised they would immediately appeal to the all-Republican Supreme Court.

Continue to check back for details on this developing story. 

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