Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Vouchers Bill Dead for 2017 Legislative Session

Rep. Brooks, Kelsey's co-sponsor, takes if off notice until next year.

Posted By on Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 5:36 PM



click to enlarge Rep. Harry Brooks
  • Rep. Harry Brooks
For yet another year, the attempt to pass school-voucher legislation has proved unsuccessful. This year's version — by state Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) was taken off notice for the year in the state House Finance Ways and Means Committee.

Kelsey's House co-sponsor, Rep Harry Brooks (R-Knoxville) said he was pulling the bill to examine "particular wording," but did not elaborate. He said he thought the bill would be back next year, though. (Voucher legislation has beeen a fixture of General Assembly sessions for at least a decade, and versions of it have — briefly — enjoyed at least the nominal blessing of Governor Bill Haslam, but no voucher bill has yet run the gauntle of legislative resistance.)

The Kelsey bill would have instituted a "pilot program" restricted to Shelby County Schools, with 5000 vouchers of a maximum of $7000 made available to students from low-performing public schools in the SCS system.

With near unanimity, Shelby County legislators, both Republican and Democratic, opposed the measure and questioned its constitutionality.

MTK

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