It appears that the Republican-controlled House and Senate had many more failures than successes during the recently completed Regular Session. The failure to face reality concerning state finances, and ignoring obvious needs, were tremendous disappointments. Once again, the current legislature followed the “kick-the-can down the road” and “borrow from Peter to pay Paul” agendas. Those have been the solutions utilized over the past ten years when dealing with most tough financial problems and for other major problems facing our state. I believe there is a very good reason why our state is having the financial difficulties we are currently facing. Past failures to make public education at every level the top legislative priority is inexcusable and, in my opinion, is the root cause of most of our state’s problems.
However, one good result in the Session – as it relates to education – was the failure of the push for charter schools in Alabama. I can see no good whatsoever that can come from the creation of charter schools, especially when we have over the past ten years consistently under-funded our current system. Some believe charter schools may just be a clever way for some in the private sector to profit financially. In any event, the efforts to create charter schools failed and I believe that was a good thing for Alabama citizens.
Another failure was the blatant refusal to correct the tremendous problems created by the passage of last year’s infamous Immigration bill. I firmly believe that law should be repealed. But at the very least, meaningful changes are needed to improve – to the extent possible – a very bad law, and one that should never have been passed. Now the Legislature has passed a bill that some say will make bad matters worse. A state that is flat broke will now have to enforce the law at great cost.
The effects of the Immigration law, as amended, will cripple our state economically for years. If Bull Conner were still around today, he would be proud of what this Legislature has done. Some observers say the only things missing from the Conner days are the water hoses and police dogs. Sadly, the spirit behind passage of this law comes from the same political mindset that existed during the Conner days in our state. Indeed, this Immigration law is a sad commentary on the legislative priorities that have been on exhibit for the last two years.
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