MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Local 24 News political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shares his point of view on the future of Tennessee’s school voucher bill.
The Tennessee General Assembly kicks off its 2020 session this week – and again Democrats are hoping to have an impact on legislation. And again, they will likely be disappointed. Republicans have such a Super Majority, that whatever they say goes. Nevertheless, there just might be a bipartisan effort to repeal the controversial voucher bill that was passed last year.
Memphis Democrat Karen Camper is co-sponsor on a House bill to rescind the voucher legislation, formally called the Education Savings Account Program. That bill barely passed last year because several Republicans opposed it.
The vouchers will provide up to $7,300 to qualified students in poor performing schools to attend private schools. But it remains unclear if that money will be considered taxable income to those families.
There are also allegations that former House speaker Glen Casada pulled some illegal strings to get the legislation over the finish line by one vote.
Despite all that, chances are still slim that it will be repealed, primarily because it was Governor Bill Lee’s signature proposal last year. And he will spend political capital to keep it.
Meanwhile, Democrats will continue their push to expand Medicaid to some 300,000 low income Tennesseans under the Affordable Care Act. But unless Republicans have a change of heart, Medicaid expansion remains a nonstarter in Tennessee.
So, let’s get ready for more of the same from Nashville. And that’s my point of view.