By the time this issue is received, the Alabama Legislature will have completed the regular session. Unless something drastic happened during the last week of the session, this will have been another typical election-year session. That means very little of real importance or value to the people of Alabama became law during the session. The important issues facing our state were again pretty much ignored.
I had hoped that improving public education at every level would be a central feature in this session. But that didn’t happen. In my opinion, continuing to treat public school teachers like second-class citizens is a tremendous mistake. We are losing men and women from the teaching ranks whose talents and experience are badly needed, to other states or to jobs outside education.
Losing good, qualified school teachers to Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and Mississippi is not good for the future of Alabama. Also, the negative message sent by the legislature to young men and women who are considering becoming teachers will add to our state’s problems in years to come. Hopefully, things will get better for education in Alabama after the elections are over. To Gov. Robert Bentley’s credit, he stood up for the teachers during the session.
It’s high time for Alabama to move forward and take advantage of all of the resources that we as a state have been blessed with. Instead of spending time “tilting at windmills,” the Legislature should face up to the fact that major problems in our state exist and must be dealt with.
Our state’s prison system is another prime example of the neglect of major problems. The system is a powder-keg, ready to explode, and it’s a problem that won’t go away. This is one that must be dealt with and soon. If we don’t do it, the federal courts will. The Legislature also failed to provide adequate funding for the Alabama judicial system during the session. Considering that severe cuts had been made in previous years, the courts can’t stand this sort of budgeting. The court system – based on our Constitution – must be adequately funded. Eventually, that will be forced to happen.
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