This surely comes as a surprise to many since Love, chairman of the House Ways and Means Education Committee, was one of the most influential members of the Alabama Legislature.
The representative is giving up his office to “pursue business opportunities and to promote education reform,” he told reporters.
In announcing his resignation, Love, R-Montgomery, described himself as a “citizen legislator [who] never intended for politics to become my career.”
That is what Alabama legislators are intended to be. Though some have tried to make the office full-time by raising the salary (which they did) and giving legislators state-subsidized insurance (which they did not), the fact remains that being a legislator is a part-time job. Even though senators and representatives who leave office without completing their terms are often criticized, few can truly fault them if something better comes along.
In Love’s case, we and others will be watching closely and with interest to see what that “something” will be.
If it is a post that could conflict with his legislative duties, the decision to step down might be considered admirable.
On the other hand, Love did not rule out contract lobbying, and though Alabama’s “revolving door” statute prohibits him from lobbying the state House in which he served, he could still lobby members of the state Senate.
According to an Alabama Ethics Commission ruling, the Senate is considered a “separate entity” even though together it constitutes the legislative branch — the logic of this is twisted, but until the Legislature addresses the matter, and likely it won’t, the ruling stands.
Love has also been a supporter of the ill-advised Alabama Accountability Act, which gives tax credits to parents who take their students out of “failing” public schools and enrolls them is public schools that are not failing or in private schools.
Passed under the guise of “school choice,” it does nothing to improve education in the state, despite its supporters’ claims to the contrary. There is speculation that Love may become active in promoting this and other voucher-like schemes supported by advocates of privatizing education.
The “opportunity” that Jay Love is about to pursue could point the way to how the state educates its children.