Tennessee Governor: My Vouchers or No Vouchers (video)

Published April 16, 2013

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam decided to pull his school voucher proposal because some Republican lawmakers insisted on trying to expand it, says state Senate Majority Leader Marker Norris (R-Collierville) in this video. 

“The bill will not advance this year,” Norris said. “We received word that there would be more amendments, all of which attempted to broaden the governor’s initiative beyond what he feels is appropriate… We were moving in the wrong direction, rather than the right direction.” 

He called school choice proponents’ tactics “brinkmanship.” 

“If they won’t run their own bill, they shouldn’t try to hijack the administration’s,” he said.

Senate Education Committee chair Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville) also pulled her voucher proposal, Senate Bill 1358, which would have given, by 2016, vouchers to all Tennessee children in families that earn less than $75,000 per year. Only up to 20,000 students in poor families attending the state’s worst 5 percent of schools would have been eligible for Haslam’s proposal.

The House Education and Government Operations committees had passed Haslam’s plan, the “Tennessee Choice & Opportunity Scholarship Act,” in March with minor amendments.

State Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown), who has introduced voucher legislation in 2013 and previous years, said he will continue doing so. 

Video by TNReport.com. Image by USDA.gov.