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House leaders kill school voucher bill without vote

A school voucher bill died Thursday – a deadline day – when House leaders opted not to bring it up for consideration.

House Bill 1449, which was first introduced as a far reaching, universal voucher bill allowing public funds to be spent on private schools, had been amended to create a committee to study the issue. But on Thursday the bill died when it was not brought up for consideration, killing not only universal vouchers, but the prospect of studying the use of vouchers.

“Even though it was just a study committee, the code section was still alive,” meaning spending tax dollars on private schools could have been reincorporated in the bill later in the process, said Rep. Daryl Porter, D-Summit.

“We wanted it to die – at least I did,” he said.

There might be bills alive where some form of voucher legislation could be enacted, but the most far reaching – the Mississippi Student Freedom Act — will no longer be alive during the process.

The bill was unique in the legislative process because it would not have placed any limitations on who could receive vouchers – referred to as a scholarships in the legislation. House Education Chair Rob Roberson, R-Starkville, said when he filed the legislation he just wanted to start a conversation on the contentious issue and indicated then the bill would not survive.

Even after the bill was changed to a study committee, Mississippi Today reported that House leaders were saying it would be killed in the House and not advanced to the Senate.

Thursday was the deadline for original floor action on bills in the chamber where they originated.

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