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Why did fundamental good sense prevail on the voucher bill?

SB 193, the statewide voucher bill, appears to have been the highest legislative priority of the Governor and legislative leadership.  It had the support of many Republicans who feel that the State should provide access to private schools in support of parental choice and student needs.  Last fall, it looked sure to pass.  But in the end, the House voted it down by the thinnest of margins.

Here’s a central reason:

Voucher opponents on the State House steps

Voucher opponents on the State House steps


Here are the roll-call votes on HB 1636. Please. Express your appreciation to House members who opposed this debilitating voucher program.

Actually, we’ll present these votes differently from in the past.  There were two votes on HB 1636 on Thursday.  The first was on the motion, “Non-concur, committee of conference.”  The second was just “Non-concur.”  We had urged House members in numerous one-on-one conversations to oppose both motions, for the reasons we outlined here.  The complete official tally of each vote is available here.  We will use this post to highlight those we should thank for voting with us. (more…)

SB 193 is dead for this year! The House voted 180-163 to “non-concur.” (…but get ready for next year.)

There’s nothing much more to say than to express thanks and appreciation to the many dozens of committed parents and volunteers who expressed their opposition to vouchers.

Please.  Stay engaged.  This bill and other challenges will be back before a new Legislature next year.  Parents and others concerned about the future of public education in New Hampshire will need to maintain a strong, reasonable, rational voice in the policy process.

The House finds itself unable to fix the Senate’s voucher bill that most everyone considers a bad bill

It is widely agreed that the version of SB 193 that passed the Senate in March, 2017 is too costly to the general fund and still downshifts hundreds of millions of dollars in school funding responsibility to local taxpayers and has many other problems.  But the House is finding that its options for fixing the bill are limited.  (more…)

Reaching Higher NH: The voucher bill going to the House floor Thursday could cost millions in new state spending

As everyone knows, the Senate has sent HB 1636 back to the House amended to include the version of SB 193 passed by the Senate in March of 2017.  Here is our overview of the voucher provisions of the bill.

The Senate amendment to HB 1636 is widely considered a placeholder for more work to be done on the bill in a committee of conference.  However, some supporters prefer this swing-for-the-fences voucher program the subsequent versions that incorporated some limitations in response to a flood of criticism.  And the whole Legislature seems to have become impatient and cranky, just worn out by the Governor’s over-the-top pressure to pass something salable nationally as a school choice win.  So there’s no telling where all this will lead. (more…)

There is no need for a committee of conference on HB 1636 (SB 193) – the House should vote Non-Concur.

HB 1636, amended to include SB 193, will come before the House again on Thursday, May 10th.  It contains the version of SB 193 that the Senate passed a year ago, a bill that served as a starting point for 15 months of work by House Education and Finance committees.
The Governor is putting the Legislature though this extended process but there is nothing left to be said.  Education and Finance Republican leadership, including the House members most committed to school choice, have already invested their best efforts in this bill.  The best a Committee of Conference could do is bring back a bill the House has already voted on twice. (Here is further coverage.)


Update on the effort to resuscitate SB 193: action through the end of the session

The expectation at this point is that the House Education Committee will recommend that the amended HB 1636 be sent to a committee of conference and that the House will vote on that on May 10.  Here is the amendment adding SB 193 to HB 1636.  (This amendment, “Death Benefit for School Employee Killed in Line of Duty” was also added to HB 1636)

The House could kill the bill then and there but if it agrees to the committee of conference, the Speaker will name the committee members, probably then and there, and the committee will prepare its report.  The version of SB 193 added to HB 1636 is a version that the Senate passed in March, 2017 and that no one considers viable at this point.  The committee of conference will probably replace it with a version much like the one the House voted down this week.

The House would vote on the committee of conference report at the May 23 session.  If it passes, it will go immediately to the Senate.  If it fails, it is dead at that point.  The last day of the current legislative session is scheduled to be May 24.

Both the Concord Monitor (here) and the Union Leader (here) have provided updates on last night’s Senate action.  (more…)

The Senate has amended HB 1636 to include the language from SB 193

At 9:30 tonight (Thursday), the Senate amended HB 1636, creating a study committee about charter school teacher preparation and making unused district school facilities available to charter schools, to include the language of SB 193.

It is not clear which version of SB 193 the Senate amended into HB 1636 nor is it clear whether the amended bill will go to a conference committee or straight to the House floor for an an up or down vote on a motion to concur.

Update, 5/3 at 10:40:  Here is the amended version of HB 1636,  The added language is the version that passed the Senate in March of 2017.

To be continued.

SB 193 supporters’ effort to resuscitate SB 193 fails. Here’s an analysis of the vote.

Debate on a bill the House has voted on can be reopened if the majority supports a motion to “reconsider.”  The House voted this morning defeated a motion to reconsider yesterday’s vote on SB 193.

Here is breakdown comparing yesterday’s 170-159 vote on Interim Study (a Yea is a vote to kill the bill for this year) with today’s 165-172 vote that defeated the motion to reconsider yesterday’s vote to kill the bill (a Nay vote on the motion to reconsider is a vote in opposition to SB 193).


Union Leader: NH House defeats controversial school choice bill — for now

For further background on the legislative prospects for SB 193, here are highlights from Dave Solomon’s coverage in today’s Union Leader:

A controversial school choice bill that would have directed some of the state’s education funds to parents for private school tuition failed in the House on Wednesday, despite the strong support of Gov. Chris Sununu and Republican leadership in the House and Senate.

A concern over the potential loss of funds to public schools, cited by Republican Neal Kurk of Weare, chairman of the Finance Committee, was a major issue leading to a 170-159 vote to send the bill, SB 193, to interim study.