House blocks attempted potential vote on controversial “school choice” bill

(Texas House of Representatives)
Published: May. 10, 2023 at 10:58 PM CDT
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AUSTIN, Texas (KWTX) - Less than 24 hours after the latest draft of Senate Bill 8 passed in the House of Representatives, the believed attempt to vote on the bill, which includes education savings accounts, or so called “school vouchers”, in committee was blocked by the House in a 65-76 vote after 8 p.m. Wednesday night.

Education Committee Chair Brad Buckley filed a motion for the committee to meet at 9:15 p.m. “to consider pending, referred and committee business”.

That motion was objected by Representative Earnest Bailes (District 18), citing the committees attempt to vote on an “80 page bill” that, if passed, could give parents state funding for private education.

Bailes claimed the bill had not gone through a proper hearing for public testimony or comment since its revisions Tuesday night.

“Our kids matter in the state of Texas and they are better than back room shady dealings which is what this is right here” Bailes stated on the House floor.

KWTX’s Making the Grade team was in the state capitol just hours before that motion was filed, speaking with the Education Chairman, and District 54 Representative about the bill.

When asked if the last 24 hours was enough time to make such a vote, Representative Buckley stated, “When you take into account that right now the audience for the bill are the members of the public education committee. 16 hours of hearings on 30 pages of the bill, many more hours than that on the issues that involve 50 pages of the bill. So now [the education committee is] looking at it, I have members coming to me all day long, I’m describing what the bill does, they’re giving me feedback and we’re trying to provide consensus as we move forward.”

Buckley told KWTX the new version of the bill would also address local district concerns with the state’s Accountability Rating System and STAAR testing.

Sixty-five members of the house voted “aye” to grant the motion for the education committee to meet Wednesday night, while 76 voted “nay”, ultimately stopping the meeting from taking place.