A dozen days of bickering goes nowhere
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 11, 2002
March 7, 2001 10 PM
Twelve days of bickering – that was the only accomplishment of a legislative special session that ended Monday night.
Unless you want to count that it was the first the session in at least 50 years that ended without any bills passing.
Gov. Don Siegelman called the special session so the Legislature could focus efforts on finding remedies for the state’s education budget shortfall.
His main plan was to protect K-12 funding by cutting higher education funding, which wouldn’t be a good idea by any means.
Lobbyists and higher education allies in the Legislature successfully blocked Siegelman’s efforts.
The failure of the special session to find any remedies to the education-funding problem means that schools throughout the state will still have to deal with funding cuts in the form of 6.2 percent proration.
In response to Siegelman declaring proration, the Alabama Education Association filed a lawsuit against the state, claiming that education funds are essential and cannot be cut.
It appears the courts will be the source of any possible remedy to the state’s education funding crisis.
And that’s a shame.
We expect more out of our legislators and our governor, and it’s doubly disturbing that the Legislature wasted state funds to hold the 12-day session without passing any bills.
Many of Siegelman’s opponents are pointing fingers at him for the funding woes and failure of any legislation to come out of the special session, saying he failed to propose any workable plans.
Siegelman should bear some of the blame, but not all of it. Members of the Legislature failed to compromise and find solutions to the education-funding crisis and should share in the blame.
If the court rules in favor of the schools, the Legislature will have to come up with a way to fund education.
If the court rules in favor of the state, education will take a serious blow, and we all lose.
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