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House passes bill granting equal access to all educational professional organizations

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Tuesday, the Alabama House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 159 granting equal access to the schools to all educational professional organizations.

Senate Bill 159 is sponsored by Sen. Shay Shelnutt, R-Trussville. It was carried on the floor of the Alabama House by State Rep. Mack Butler, R-Rainbow City.

Butler said, the bill would “give all teachers professional organizations equal access to school facilities.”

“Some organizations report that they have not been given access to the schools,” Butler said.

Butler said that this he has had no reports of it occurring in Etowah County, but a group, which Butler could not recall, has claimed that this has occurred in St. Clair County.

The primary two educational professional organizations in the state are the Alabama Education Association (AEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

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State Rep. Barbara Boyd, D-Anniston, said, “I think this is dangerous at this time.”

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State Rep. Merika Coleman, D-Birmingham, said that she is worried about unintended consequences.

“I want to make sure that the people who go into the schools are good people,” Coleman said. “We have all kinds of people who will put on the Boy Scout Uniform, the Girl Scouts uniform, or the pastors uniform and prey on the children.”

State Rep. Patricia Todd, D-Birmingham, said, “This looks like a yellow vanilla bill but it is not.”

The Alabama Conference of Educators (ACOE) is a group educators group. Historically the AEA has a history of being heavily involved in Alabama elections, particularly at the state level and normally they did not back conservative candidates.

The House passed SB159 52-37.

The bill now goes to the governor for her consideration.

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