Some times all you can do is shake your head. Such as when you read this article about the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) opposing a bill to require insurance coverage for therapy for autistic children. HB 284 is sponsored by Rep. Jim Patterson of Madison County.
Even Alabama football coach Nick Saban and his wife are behind this effort and pointed out in a letter that 45 states have laws requiring health insurance coverage for autism therapies.
But BCA chief executive Billy Canary testified against the bill claiming that it is not fiscally responsible for behavioral therapy to be covered without limits..According to AL.com, Patterson and Canary exchanged words after the meeting:
Canary asked why Patterson filed the bill without approaching him, and Patterson pointed out that it’s usually the lobbyists who approach lawmakers, not the other way around.
Canary accused Patterson of having his own agenda to force a healthcare tax on people, to which Patterson replied, “Don’t call it a tax. I resent that.”
Canary said, “It is a tax. That’s the truth.”
Patterson said, “I’m willing to work with you, but don’t insult me by calling it a tax. That’s just a way to play politics. Billy, you’re better than that.”
Tempers sometimes flare at the statehouse. Though for the most part, all the back and forth of horsetrading is carried out in a quite civil manner. Still one has to wonder at any group taking a stand in opposition to HB 284.
But it is important to remember that while BCA claims to high heaven that they support public schools and the students who attend them, many of their actions say something entirely different. These are the same folks who support the Alabama Accountability Act that has diverted $86 million from the Education Trust Fund. The same folks who openly support Bob Riley’s Alabama Opportunity scholarship Fund–even thought another SGO, Scholarships for Kids, is also a BCA member. The same folks who created the Business Education Alliance that says on their website that schools should be run like businesses, a notion that has been debunked time and time again by research.
The same folks who promote charters schools and vouchers and were a sponsor for the School Choice rally in Montgomery a month or so ago. The same folks who testified in favor of the infamous RAISE Act in 2016. The same folks who spent more than $300,000 on state school board races in 2016. The same folks who gave state board member Mary Scott Hunter $75,000 in 2014. the same board member being sued for trying to manipulate the search process for a state superintendent last summer.
Records on the Secretary of State’s website show that BCA contributed $14,500 to Patterson’s 2014 campaign. He should be commended for showing us that on occasion money is not all the matters at the statehouse.