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Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh and Lt. Governor Kay Ivey reacted Tuesday afternoon to a court's decision to temporarily block the Alabama Accountability Act from being sent to Governor Robert Bentley for his signature.
The governor's signature would have made law of the controversial school flexibility legislation which would have given parents of students in failing schools access to tax credits to send them to other schools.
"Unfortunately union bosses are attempting to disrupt the legislative process in order to serve their own selfish interests – to the detriment of every child trapped in a failing school," Sen. Marsh said in a statement.
Lt. Governor Kay Ivey, also a Republican, echoed Marsh's statements calling the restraining order "a prime example of the judicial branch overextending its authority." Ivey's office said in a statement that the AEA's lawsuit, "is the first of what I anticipate to be many continued efforts...to prevent true education reform in Alabama."
The lawsuit was filed late Monday in Montgomery Circuit Court by the Alabama Education Association. The AEA claims Senators Marsh [R-Anniston] and Gerald Dial [R-Lineville], Representatives Chad Fincher [R-Mobile], Jay Love [R-Montgomery] and Rep. Mike Hubbard [R-Auburn], and Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey helped pass the legislation in violation of the state's Open Meetings Act.
The AEA is arguing that members of the conference committee that approved the changes met outside of the committee, with a quorum, and then brought back changes that had already been agreed upon by 4 of the 6 conference committee members.
The State, which includes Senate and House Republicans, is arguing that some rules are germane only to the legislature and are not constitutionally binding.
Judge Charles Price, who signed the restraining order, said he doesn't understand how the legislature can operate without abiding by its own rules.
A court hearing is set for Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. to further discuss the ongoing legal issue.
"We are very confident that the passage of this bill was consistent with both the House and Senate's governing rules," Sen. Marsh said. "We look forward to standing with Governor Bentley as he signs the Alabama Accountability Act into law..."
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