Governor Haslams current voucher proposal has started its trip through the house, but on the senate side, the sponsor (Sen. Mark Norris) decided to pull the bill at the last second from the senate education calendar. Why?
The governors voucher bill may be in trouble.....But not the kind you might think.
Most insiders think the last second pull out was probably because there was a movement afoot to dramatically expand the voucher program to allow more children and more schools. The governors current proposal would probably only apply to less then a fraction of 1% of school aged children.
The last second Kelsey amendment draft would open it up much, much wider, to children whose parents had still low, but greater incomes and to more schools.
The votes to add the Kelsey amendment looked all lined up so the bill was pulled. Ironically, Brian Kelsey was the original sponsor of this years voucher bill but was nixed after concerns were raised about his willingness to stick to the governors original limitations.
Kelsey has a back up bill waiting in the wings if the governors proposal needs to die for a larger proposal to come forward but all parties know though that one way or the other, only one bill will pass this year.
If its the governors, expect the senate sponsor to take the blood oath that if any changes are made, the bill will come back to the senate education committee for approval assuring the senate education amendment isn't stripped off later in the process. If it is the Kelsey bill the governor may try to hold up Kelsey's house companion.
This could get messy.