Thursday, April 28, 2005

Just imagine if he were actually elected

Paul Hubbert runs Montgomery, and don't you forget it.

The Alabama Education Association executive secretary, who has been hospitalized for the last two weeks after heart surgery, returned to the state capital on Wednesday to meet with key legislators. Within hours, the Senate's deadlock over the education budget ended, and the special session that looked almost certain just a few hours earlier suddenly became improbable. Gov. Bob Riley probably will veto the budget, which he calls irresponsible, but legislators plan to pass it in time to vote to override a veto.

Under the compromise, teachers will get a 6 percent raise, which is 1 percentage point less than what Hubbert originally wanted but 2 percentage points more than the amount for which Riley called. The deal's pledge of annual $18 million increases for higher education in the future was enough to persuade Sen. Jim Preuitt, D-Talladega, to end the stalling routine.

In other legislative news, the state Christian Coalition finally managed to kill the bill that would have forced it to disclose its donors. As The Huntsville Times observed, the measure "seemed an afterthought after the breakthrough of five weeks of filibustering." Which, of course, was the entire point.

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