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Voucher Bill Fails in Committee

February 27, 2014

Yesterday evening, about the time I went to dinner, just from reading the tea leaves following social media, I was convinced that HB 3398 – the Voucher Bill – was going to pass committee. It was either going to be a tie vote with the passing vote broken by House Speaker Hickman, or several of the Republican no votes were going to leave the committee room before the vote was called.

I came back from dinner and was pleasantly surprised. By a vote of 14-8, the bill failed. Here’s the breakdown:

Yes

No

Non-voting

Mike Christian, Sally Kern, Mark McCullough, Jason Nelson, Tom Newell, Leslie Osborn, Sean Roberts, Colby Schwartz Don Armes, Mike Brown, Ann Coody, Doug Cox, Lee Denney, Joe Dorman, Chuck Hoskin, Scott Martin, Jeannie McDaniel, Skye McNiel, Jerry McPeak, Richard Morrissette, Eric Proctor, Earl Sears Lisa Billy, Mike Ritze, Mike Sanders, Weldon Watson, Paul Wesselhoft

This shows me that the email and phone calls helped. It would be worth reaching out to the people you contacted initially and letting them know you appreciate them listening to you. It’s also why so many of us are planning a field trip to the Capitol on March 31st. As poorly planned as this bill was, it’s a drop in the bucket compared with the funding problems that schools are facing. Add A-F Report Cards, RSA, and Common Core to the frustration being felt in homes and schools, and there will be plenty to discuss.

Let’s also not kid ourselves into thinking that the idea of vouchers is dead. Jason Nelson still believes in sending public funding to private schools and not adding accountability. He has also stated that the only reason he wouldn’t push for all-out vouchers (rather than just based on family income) is because he knows it has no chance of passing. He’s surely not the only one who feels this way, and he’s surely not the only one who has read the ALEC and FEE playbooks.

For now at least, logic prevailed and the majority of our representatives listened to their constituents. For that, we should feel thankful.

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