Tennessee Senate passes school voucher bill 20-13

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL)- Thursday morning there was extensive discussion ahead of a vote on the ESA bill in Nashville on the Senate floor.

The final vote on the Senate floor was 20-13. 

Senator Rusty Crowe, and Senator Jon Lundberg both voted in favor of passing the ESA bill.  

The heart of the bill would send an estimated 73-hundred dollars yearly to eligible students in Davidson and Shelby counties only.

The House bill currently has two other counties, Knox and Hamilton, in the measure, but there’s a verbal promise that Knox would be removed when differences in the plans are resolved. 

The students could use the ESA or voucher money for educational purposes, but most likely purpose it would be for private schools.

The two versions of the ESA plan will have to be resolved in a conference committee between the House and Senate .

Earlier this week, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s controversial “education savings account” bill narrowly passed on the House floor Tuesday after an initial vote ended in a tie. 

The tie was broken by a move that hasn’t been seen in nearly two decades, according to observers. House members were allowed to change their votes and Republican Rep. Jason Zachary did just that to push the bill through. 

Tennessee House narrowly passes controversial voucher bill

Rep. Matthew Hill was one of six local lawmakers to support the bill, despite mounting pushback from public school leaders in their districts. 

“I appreciate my teachers. Some of them have been a little less than appreciative of me over the last few days and that’s ok,” said Hill. 

That’s because the bill he supports could shift more than $110 million from the state’s Basic Education Program over a five year period to fund an education savings account, according to the most recent financial analysis.

We have a feed of that discussion on our WJHL Facebook page:

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