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Political analyst Jess Brown discusses the legislative session

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Huntsville, Ala. (WHNT)-  Jess Brown is a political science professor at Athens State University.  He is also the WHNT Political Analyst and he stopped in to WHNT News 19 this week to discuss the current legislative session for this weeks Leadership Perspective.

The session has just begun, but there have already been plenty of issues that have arisen such as the Charter School Bill.  Jess Brown said that, “It was the next natural step for the Republican Majority.  The Republican Majority seems to be on a mission to gradually, incrementally privatize public education in Alabama,  to essentially take public tax dollars and put those public tax dollars under the control of essentially private boards and private bodies.  I think increasingly the legislative majority, not just the Charter Bill, but other legislation that they have enacted, they are showing a I don’t want to say distrust, but they are showing a lack of confidence in the public school authorities in the state, like local school boards, county school boards, and the State Board of Education.”

Another piece of legislature that is up for debate is a religious liberties bill.  Are morality bills that seem great on paper really just a waste of our legislative time?  Jess Brown thinks that, “There is a spectrum in legislative sessions that we call symbolic legislation.  They are introduced, because the legislator knows that he will get some positive press coverage.  He knows that there will be a group of voters, a constituency group that will love it.  They will not have read the bill.  They will not read the bill.  They won’t even think through the bill.  It will just be pandering to a sub-set of voters who have very strong feelings about issue X or issue Y.  The reality is that most of the school board members, principles, and superintendents of public schools in Alabama, most of the teachers who walk in those classrooms also darken the doors of main stream religious denomination churches in this state.  The people that run the schools are not a bunch of godless heathens.  But the national dialogue is such that the Republican legislators especially have learned that, they get a little bit of political advantage if they periodically drop in a bill that is symbolic legislation.  Get a little P.R. bounce for they day and move on.”

Watch the three part interview here: