Democrats criticize "Punish AEA Bradley Byrne Relief Act"
Senate Democrats criticized their Republican colleagues for beginning Friday's business considering a bill that would stop the state from taking out dues for organizations and political action committees.
Some organizations of teachers, state employees, and public safety officers opposed the bill, believing it would hurt them.
Republicans believe that state resources should not be used to collect dues for organizations that are often politically active.
Democrats believe the bill is targeted at the Alabama Education Association and the Alabama State Employees Association.
Paul Hubbert, head of the AEA, believes his organization is being attacked because it supported Robert Bentley in the Republican primary and fought against Bradley Byrne, who was the choice of several prominent Republicans including Gov. Bob Riley.
Riley, a Republican, called a special session that started Wednesday for lawmakers to address ethics.
Senate Minority Leader Roger Bedford, D-Russellville, encouraged his colleagues to switch the first and last bills on the agenda for Friday so they would take up the ethics overhaul first and the "punish AEA Bradley Byrne Relief Act" last.
Bedford said if they were truly addressing ethics in this session then they should address that and then get to the ban on automatic payroll deduction if there is time.
Democrats said the payroll deduction is not an ethics issue.
Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, said it is about ethics because state resources should not be used to collect those dues. He said Republicans have the vote to pass the bill today in the Senate.
-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen