Ban on "Double Dipping" lifted

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A Montgomery County judge has thrown out a State Board of Education policy that would have banned Alabama legislators from also working in the two-year college system.

Montgomery County Circuit Judge Johnny Hardwick ruled Friday afternoon that the board's decision to ban the policy known as "double dipping" violated a state law.

That law requires state agencies to hold public hearings on policy changes and to have those changes approved by a legislative panel.

Under the board's policy, two-year college employees would have been prohibited from serving in the Legislature after the 2010 election. Hardwick also threw out a board policy that would have forced lawmakers to use vacation time to attend legislative meetings before 2010.

Governor Bob Riley's office is obviously in disagreement over the judge's ruling.

"A judge has imposed on the two-year system and the taxpayers a return to the corrupt, scandal-riddled ways of the past that have led to guilty pleas, prison sentences and a stain on the reputation of our community colleges," said Governor Riley's Communications Director, Jeff Emerson.

"No judge has the right or authority to unilaterally give public employees total control over their own work schedules, especially when it results in harm to schools and their students."

WSFA 12 News attempted to contact Postsecondary Chancellor Bradley Byrne for his reaction to the ruling, but a spokesperson said Byrne didn't have a statement at the moment as he has not had a chance to read it. However, the spokesperson agreed with Governor Riley's statements, adding the case will" most definitely" be appealed.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. WSFA 12 News contributed to this report. All Rights Reserved.)