Well, day 36 proved to be the day that SB 47 Special Needs Expansion voucher was voted out of the House Ed Committee. (11-5) Ironically, it will be carried by Rep. Will Wade on the House floor. There was substitute to SB 47 and some of the language was changed to narrow the focus of the bill. It still includes expansion language of Section 504, along with a flexible list of other maladies that could qualify students for the scholarship. The lack of accountability and transparency remains. The current cost is $35 million according to GADOE numbers. So, it will obviously goes up from there. There was a very big push from the Lt Gov’s office across the House chamber along with some very active “choice” lobbyists that seemed to make the progress needed to vote SB 47 out of the House Ed committee. It will now go to House Rules where for the final few days of the session where the mischief happens. We are beginning to see a strategy emerging of combing bills into one bill (typical the last few days) as we did in the House Ed committee this morning with the Dexter Mosely Act SB 51 and the Star Efficiency Ratings SB 42 two separate bills that ended up on a single bill which passed out of committee.
Other bills that passed House Ed Committee:
SB 24– Learning Pod Protection Act
SB 213 – Allows local district to use ESPLOST funds to install equipment that reduces energy or water waste.
House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee:
SB 226 – Known as the Library Bill which requires local boards to develop a policy regarding the appeal process for a parent of materials and books used in the classroom which may have questionable content and/or language. The board will have to adopt a complaint process by January 1, 2022. Also requires each district to make available on their website any text or graphic material deemed local district as not harmful or offensive in order for the public to review. It passed out of this committee and is now onto Rules for consideration for a floor vote.
FY22 Budget is moving slowly through the Senate and is essentially the same as the House version. We should see the detail later this week.
Day 37, is scheduled for Tuesday, March 23.