Alabama Accountability Act issue: A display of tension between parties

By on April 8, 2013

Alabama’s legislature seems to be inefficient and divided. Besides the legislative passage allowing the Ten Commandments to shown in government funded establishments, by making an amendment to the Alabama constitution, there has been poor cooperation between both parties. Essentially, this has proven to only slow the already sluggish legislative process in Alabama.

The current disputes involving the ongoing tension between Alabama Republicans and Democrats regard the Alabama Accountability Act. The entire production of this act begins with its passage in Alabama House of Representatives by a Republican strong hold. Both an Alabama Supreme Court judge and the Alabama Education Association created the restraining order on the governor’s staff to keep Gov. Robert Bentley away from this bill. Finally, this led to the eventual signing by Bentley earlier this month.

Democrats are accusing the Speaker of the House Republican Kay Ivey. They claim that she violated a law about the number of representatives present on the day that the vote for the Accountability Act was held. To the outraged and disappointed Democrats, Ivey responded with the fact that there were enough present for the floor to be open, but not all representatives signed the roll call.

Many have observed that this may be a close breaking point in the Alabama legislative body between these two parties. The continuance of the harsh differences between these two far-reaching parties makes any sort of step in Alabama’s legislation slow and cumbersome. This bipartisanship really only emphasizes the lack of compromise that Republicans are willing to make. The representation in Alabama is overwhelmingly GOP. While this is normal and expected for a Southern state, one must hope for a moment when there is room for sound argument and difference of opinion in a legislative body.

The latest achievements that the Alabama legislature can boast have been minimal and controversial in nature. One issue was assessing actions of racial bias by the Secretary of State Beth Chapman when she appointed a new member to Montevallo’s Board of Trustees.

Another controversial motion by the legislature was passing the 10 commandments bill, which is based on a religious text and a clear violation of church and state separation. Finally, the representatives were barely addressing housekeeping rules that Democrats had been complaining about in the recent Accountability Act.

This state is better than the legislation it has been putting out. I believe that Alabama is a state with conservative values and healthy fear of big government, but the current political environment doesn’t need two parties to define its beliefs.

I urge Alabama’s representatives to break the binds of political parties and start assessing new bills with an open mind. The parties used to contribute to the prosperous side of the political process, but now it prevents compromise. I only hope that these representatives are able to take their responsibility seriously and start making reasonable compromises. After, of course, their well-deserved Spring Break.

In last week’s paper, the article, “Alabama Accountability Act: A display f tension between two parties,” contained an error. Kay Ivey was identied as the speaker of the house rather than Mike Hubbard.

Lauren McLernon

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