Democrats in the Alabama Legislature say they're planning to take the rest of the regular session as slowly as possible. The decision to tone down their speed comes as a way of protesting after the Republican supermajority forced through a controversial education reform bill last week.
Democrats say they'll even block their own measures in the State House.
The move comes one day after Montgomery County Circuit Judge Charles Price issued an order temporarily blocking House Bill 84, the school flex and private school tax credit bill, from going to Governor Robert Bentley's desk for signing into law.
Republicans have appealed that ruling to the Alabama Supreme Court.
"Personally, my grandchildren are going to suffer because of this bill," said Rep. John Knight [D-Montgomery]. "Personally, I think we've got a lot of work to do in this legislature. My personal understand of this bill is that no one understands what it's going to do," he added.
Democrats vow to read bills at length. And even the most mundane of issues will receive discussion so everyone in Alabama understands each issue, explains members of the minority party.
"We want to slow the process down so people know what we're voting on in Montgomery," said Minority Leader Rep. Craig Ford [D-Etowah]. "And I don't think that's a bad thing. This isn't a partisan thing," Ford said. "We're standing up for all Alabamians."
Alabama's Speaker of the House warned that Democrats can take their time, but added there are clear limits under the rules.
"I have allowed some leeway, understanding the situation," said Speaker Mike Hubbard [R-Auburn]. "But I want everybody to understand, this is not going to be used as a vehicle for a filibuster. And this is for the purposes only of stating points of personal privilege, not reading bills."
Other Republican leaders brushed off the stall tactics and said they're just desperate acts by Democrats to send a message.
"They're still angry because we passed a piece of legislation that the AEA [Alabama Education Association] didn't like," said President Pro Tem, Senator Del Marsh [R-Anniston]." "And they're committed to the AEA. It's a big change in education. We're proud of it."
[DOCUMENT: Read the School Flex Bill (.pdf)]
The school flexibility bill was supposed to go into law the moment Governor Bentley signed it if the restraining order is lifted before Tuesday. Then, the governor would be able to sign it once the House gavels into session Tuesday afternoon.
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