Top-notch politicians are seldom truly surprised at the outcome of any vote. Certainly not when a “beat down” is about to happen.
And as we reported earlier, that’s exactly what happened last Thursday when HB 245 by Rep. Terri Collins finally made it to the House floor for a vote. Of the 71 Republicans in the House, Collins got only 31 of them to vote for her bill. which lost 48-32. Some 22 Republicans voted against the bill, while 18 others did not vote.
(Technically it was not HB 245 that was defeated, but a procedural vote that would have allowed the bill to come up for a vote. If both budgets have not gone to the governor, legislation must first get by a Budget Isolation Resolution (BIR) to come up for a vote. This requires a 3/5 vote of members present and voting. If all 105 House members were present, the BIR would need 63 votes to pass. There were 80 members present when this BIR came up. So it needed 48 “yea” votes, but only got 32.)
Yet in reporting by Mary Sell in the Decatur Daily: “State Rep. Terri Collins says she was baffled last week by the lack of support from Republicans and Democrats for her bill to change current charter school laws. Her bill would have left more local funding — thousands of dollars, depending on the system — in local schools if a child decided instead to attend a charter school.”
Rep. Randall Shedd, R-Cullman, was one of the GOP members to vote against the bill. He said his opposition wasn’t as much about the legislation, but about charter schools in general. He said his district, which includes part of Morgan County, has good public school systems that are always seeking new revenue. He is concerned charters take money away.
“There has been a feeling among public education that they have been under attack,” Shedd said. “I think this is a message that public education is a priority.”
It was Collins’ 2015 legislation that opened the door for charter schools in the state.
Truth is a lot more of Collins’ Republican colleagues may be listening to their local educators than she does. The Alabama Education Association (AEA) worked hard to defeat this bill. They encouraged legislators to contact their local school superintendents before making up their minds. Apparently many of them did.