Al. Senate and House pass Accountability Act without amendment - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Alabama Senate and House pass Accountability Act without amendment

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State legislators end their session at midnight. School security and a gun bill were on the table and a disagreement put the Governor and the Legislature at odds on the Alabama Accountability Act. Today, it passed both the House and Senate without Governor Robert Bentley's executive amendment. 

Just before recess, state Senators cast their vote concurring with the House 19 - 15.

Under the revised Alabama Accountability Act, families currently enrolled in private school are exempt from the tax credit and parents must pay transportation costs. Schools can opt out of accepting transfers. Senator Linda Coleman says the meaning of the bill has shifted.

"The original act which was to help students in failing schools by offering them choices,"Senator  Linda Coleman, (D) Jefferson said. "That's how the bill was advertised. Now this amendment takes away that choice because those affluent schools even though they are public, will have the right to deny those students from transferring."

Legislators killed Governor Bentley's executive amendment calling for a two year tax credit delay to help repay borrowed money.

"I'm concerned with whether we get this rainy day fund paid off because we have to do it constitutionally," Governor Robert Bentley said. "That money goes back into the Alabama Trust Fund. I believe we have to pay our debts. I believe it's so fiscally responsible to delay the tax credits."

Here is the latest statement from Gov. Bentley on the Senate vote: 

“Again, some have asked about the timing of my amendment.  Here’s my response:  When I submitted my budget proposals in February, I included $100 million for repayment to the Education Rainy Day Account.  But the education budget approved by the Legislature less than two weeks ago reduced that repayment to only $35 million.  The state is constitutionally required to pay its debts.  My executive amendment would have allowed us to pay back a greater portion of that debt in the coming year.  The sooner we repay the rainy day account, the sooner we can invest more resources in improving education.  My executive amendment would have also given schools time to improve by using the flexibility in the Accountability Act before the tax credits went into effect.”


Lawmakers also outlawed trespassing on a school bus and school superintendents now have control over hiring school security guards.

"The last thing the state needs to do is get in their way and prevent them from hiring fully trained resource officers," Senator Dick Brewbaker, (R) Montgomery said.

The house also passed Senator Scott Beason's revised gun bill. It says firearms can be carried in vehicles without a permit- even at the office. Businesses cannot be sued for harm from those weapons.

 

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