Lawmakers Introduce New Private School Voucher Program
Rep. Wes Cantrell (R-Woodstock) introduced legislation seeking to create Georgia’s third private school voucher program. Cantrell, who co-founded a private school, introduced similar legislation in previous sessions. The “Educational Scholarships” proposed by HB 60 would be open to students whose local public schools did not offer face-to-face instruction in the prior school year as well as low-income students, students adopted from foster care, some special education students, and students who have been bullied. Co-signers to the legislation include Rep. Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper), chair of the House Education Committee for the last two years. Public education supporters across the state are expected to oppose HB 60. PAGE will closely track and report on this legislation.
PAGE’s report, Pushing Public Dollars to Private Schools, describes the type of voucher outlined in HB 60 as well as Georgia’s two existing private school voucher programs.
New Senate Committee Chairs Named
Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and the Senate Committee on Assignments announced Senate committee assignments. Sen. Chuck Payne (R-Dalton) will serve as the new chair of the Education and Youth Committee. Payne retired from the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice after a 30-year career there. Other committee members include:
Jason Anavitarte (R-Dallas), Vice Chair
Freddie Sims (D-Dawson), Secretary
John Albers (R-Roswell)
Greg Dolezal (R-Cumming)
Sheila McNeill (R-Brunswick)
Sonya Halpern (D-Atlanta)
Lester Jackson (D-Savannah)
Donzella James (D-Atlanta)
Elena Parent (D-Atlanta)
Matt Brass (R-Newnan), Ex Officio
Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta), Ex Officio
The Senate Retirement Committee will be chaired by Sen. Randy Roberston (R-Cataula). Robertson is a 30-year law enforcement veteran who retired from the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office. Other members of the committee include:
Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome), Vice Chair
Carden Summers (R-Cordele), Secretary
Billy Hickman (R-Statesboro)
Michelle Au (D-Johns Creek)
Gail Davenport (D-Jonesboro)
Sally Harrell (D-Atlanta), Ex Officio
Larry Walker (R-Perry), Ex Officio
House committee assignments have not yet been published.
The House and Senate convened briefly today. Neither chamber took up legislation, though House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) chastised his 74 colleagues who failed to undergo onsite COVID testing. Legislators and staff are required to be tested twice weekly throughout the 2021 legislative session. At least one member of the Senate tested positive yesterday.