Sounding like a Democrat and an effective minority leader, Rep. Craig Ford says HB56 should be repealed.
“I think what happened last session was a lot of Republicans voted against working-class people and came back in their districts and got hammered,” he said.
Ford said minority Democrats will point out stumbles by the majority GOP, including the anti-illegal immigration law that Ford said should be repealed.
They also will try to remove the sales tax from food.
“We also have to make sure they don’t continue to balance the budgets on the backs of educators and state employees,” said Ford, who wants to repeal the new rolling reserve budgeting law and put the $108 million it would divert from education back into teacher pay raises and retirement.
Individual Democrats have already advocated repeal of HB56 — both Sen. Billy Beasley and Rep. Pat Todd have actually prefiled bills to repeal it — but it's important for the Democratic caucus leadership to get on board and push for repeal, not just limited “fixes,” “changes,” or “tweaks.”
Why does it matter, since the Republican-controlled legislature is unlikely to actually repeal it?
Negotiation 101: Never go into a negotiation asking for just what you want, because you'll always have to settle for less than you ask for. Democrats at both the state and national level have been slow to figure this out, so it's a relief to see Rep. Ford come out and say we need to repeal this law. There will be no meaningful “tweaks” unless opponents of this law are united in calling for its repeal.
Religious and social justice groups who are involved in the HB56 pushback know how this works — none of them are calling for limited “tweaks” of this law. They've called for repeal since day 1. And repeal is the moral high ground in this argument. Democrats should occupy that high ground and be the voice of reason, compassion and justice in the legislature.
Who knows, if the opposition to HB56 is tenacious enough, united enough, and persuasive enough, we might not have to settle for “tweaks” at all.
Mark Feb. 14 on your calendar for the One Heart, One Alabama Rally and Lobby Day to Repeal HB56!