Some lawmakers want Accountability Act sent back to legislature

Some lawmakers want Accountability Act sent back to legislature

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Source: MGN Online Source: MGN Online
MONTGOMERY, AL (WBRC) -

Some Alabama lawmakers want to Governor Robert Bentley to send the Alabama Accountability Act back to the state legislature.

Tempers flared when the accountability act passed the legislature. The Alabama Education Association and state Democrats objected that the bill was changed to allow for tax credits for parents to take their children out of failing school system. The change would allow the parents to move their children to other public or private schools.

Homewood Rep. Paul DeMarco supports the bill but wants the governor to send it back to the legislature. DeMarco wants to ensure other schools are not forced to accept those transferring students.

"I think it is always better when the language is clear. I think the language I had was crystal clear," DeMarco said.

The current Accountability Act contains language saying schools can choose to accept those students. DeMarco wanted even stronger language. Meanwhile, Birmingham Rep. John Rogers does not support the bill but Rogers works at UAB. Rogers says higher education lobbyists wanted changes to the bill to protect their budget. The tax credits' cost will come out of the education budget.

"According to the fiscal people it could cost up to $325 million. So therefore $325 million is a big hit on education trust fund. That means higher ed gets hit hard," Rogers said.

The Accountability Act has also created ill will in the state legislature. Democratic lawmakers have staged a slowdown of the legislative process because of their anger. Rogers said if the bill comes back from Gov. Bentley with changes it will lead to a major legislative battle.

"Del Marsh is begging the governor, 'Don't send it back. If it comes back it's going to be chaos, Katrina here again,'" Rogers said.

Representatives of Gov. Bentleys' Press Office said the governor is studying the bill and has not made a decision if he will sign or amend it. So far the Alabama Supreme Court has not issued a ruling if the Accountability Act can be sent to the governor. The AEA lawyers claim the bill was passed improperly by the legislature.

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