I thought we dodged a bullet on Thursday when the school voucher bill sponsored by Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Peoria, approved by the Senate earlier in the week, actually went down to defeat in the House. [UPDATE: The Senate version is SB 1236, which still needs a Third Read vote in the Senate.] But it was not followed by sine die. Eight Tea-Publicans defected to vote with the Democrats. Ariz. House rejects private-school scholarship growth:
Calling it a “step too far,” lawmakers in the Arizona House of Representatives rejected a bill Thursday that would have expanded taxpayer-funded scholarships for private schooling to thousands of children.
House Bill 2291 went down to a 31-27 defeat after more than two hours of debate about school choice and its effect on Arizona’s public-school system.
Reps. Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek, Bob Robson, Chandler; Doug Coleman, Apache Junction; Kate Brophy-McGee, Phoenix; Doris Goodale, Kingman; Ethan Orr, Tucson: Frank Pratt, Casa Grande (a cosponsor of the bill); and Thomas Shope, Coolidge voted “no.”
Rep. J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, switched his vote to “no” to give him the option of bringing the bill back for reconsideration. He has until Monday to make such a request. This zombie bill can rise from the dead because nothing is ever final until sine die.
In addition to a motion for reconsideration on HB 2291, there are other school voucher bills on the agenda next week.
SB1237 (empowerment scholarship accounts; revisions) allows students who previously attended a charter school to receive funding levels for charter schools, which is more than traditional public schools, currently on the House COW calendar for Monday.
SB 1236 (empowerment scholarship accounts; revisions) expands voucher program to children of police officers, fire fighters, emergency medical technicians, and emergency responders, and to include the siblings of current or previous ESA recipients. Identical to HB 1236. Has not yet been assigned a Third Read in the Senate, before being sent to the House.
School voucher bills that have already passed both chambers of the legislature and sent to the governor for her consideration:
HB 2139: Expands voucher program to any sibling of a student who is currently receiving voucher assistance.
HB 2150: Expands voucher program to student who have parents in the military.
Call the Governor. You know the drill.