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Watching the double-dipping policy

What a strange world.

On Friday, Montgomery County circuit Judge Johnny Hardwick ruled that a State Board of Education policy violated law because agencies have to hold public hearings on policy changes, then a legislative panel must approve the policy changes.

In this case, allowing legislators to decide smacks of letting the wolves in the henhouse.

The policy would have banned Alabama legislators from working in the two-year college system. The board’s policy would have prevented two-year college employees from serving in the Legislature after the 2010 election. The policy would have affected 17 legislators.

In part, the double-dipping ban, as it is referred to, came into play in response to the two-year college system scandal involving a former chancellor.

We’ve already seen some ethical moves since the ban: About half of the legislators who had contracts or jobs with the two-year system have given up those relationships. One legislator has quit his governmental post to become a two-year college president.

We wouldn’t go so far as to support Gov. Bob Riley’s proposal to ban retirees from serving in the Legislature.

But when you consider that a third of the members of the House Education Appropriations Committee that writes the $6 billion Education Trust Fund budget draw paychecks from the two-year college system, you have to stand back for a moment.

What happens next?

In this strange world of politics, it’s anybody’s guess.