Lee County benefits from legislative session-From the Opelika-Auburn News
May 28, 2013
the speaker of the House, I had the honor of presiding over the 2013
legislative session, a session many believe to be among the most historic in
unprecedented education reforms to broadened gun rights protections to a
continued emphasis on economic development initiatives, many of the measures
approved by the Alabama Legislature will improve the quality of life for
Alabamians for generations to come.
the home front, I stood firm to protect funding for Auburn University, which
resulted in a $243 million appropriation for the AU system. This represents an
increase of several million over last year’s allotment and exceeds the four
year average awarded to the school.
efforts to create jobs and recruit businesses to the area also continued to pay
off, as Lee County currently holds the second-lowest unemployment rate in the
state. Because of concrete results like this along with the hard work and
cooperation of community leaders and the Auburn family, Forbes Magazine
recently ranked the Auburn-Opelika area 10th in the nation among “America’s
Best Small Cities for Jobs.” Evidence of our meteoric success is the fact that
just last year, Forbes ranked us 63rd.
the statewide level, my colleagues and I joined together prior to the session
to announce a sweeping and aggressive list of House Republican proposals we
named the “We Dare Defend Our Rights” agenda. In addition to playing on
Alabama’s official state motto, the agenda was designed to combat continuing
constitutional overreaches by President Barack Obama, Washington, D.C.,
liberals and the ever-encroaching federal government.
a few days of convening, the House passed measures that rolled back the
tentacles of Obamacare in our state, reduced red tape for small-business
owners, and ensured the timely and complete repayment of $437 million that
voters borrowed from the Alabama Trust Fund in a referendum election held last
year. Other equally important bills of significance were approved as well, but
space limitations prevent me from referencing them here.
the most groundbreaking reform we adopted was the Alabama Accountability Act, a
law designed to help parents and children trapped in failing public schools
escape to better learning environments. It also provides all public schools
with the flexibility they need to deviate from mandates from Montgomery, to be
innovative in order to become more efficient and better educate kids.
its core, the Auburn-Opelika area values education greatly and houses some of
the best-performing public schools in the state, but, let’s face it, not every
community is as fortunate. There are areas of the state where failing schools
far outnumber the successful ones, and even the more promising students there
are doomed to sub-par educations and a resulting lack of opportunity after
graduation — assuming they actually graduate.
Alabama Accountability Act will bring hope to those areas where hope does not
currently exist by providing a $3,500 tax credit to parents who transfer their
children from a failing school to a non-failing public or private school in
their area. A series of precise criteria included in the law determines whether
a school is considering failing.
as competitors force businesses to improve quality, service and products for
their customers in order to maintain a share of the market, the school choice
portion of the Accountability Act will do the same for education. Failing
schools will finally get the incentive they need in order to improve.
put it concisely, if we continue to keep doing the same thing in public
education, we will continue to get the same results. It is time to take bold
new steps and leave the broken status quo behind.
a local small-businessman with a college-professor wife and two boys in quality
public schools, I am proud to live and work in Auburn and Lee County. I believe
each of the initiatives we passed in 2013 legislative session will not only
benefit our community, but improve areas of the state which need it the most.
a fact of which I am very proud.
Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, is the speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives
and represents House District 79. Visit mikehubbard.com and
facebook.com/MikeHubbard79 or follow Hubbard on Twitter via @SpeakerHubbard.