NEWS FLASH: Oklahoma House passes opportunity scholarship bill
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Published: 26-Apr-2011

A bipartisan majority in the Oklahoma House of Representatives today (Tuesday, April 26) approved Senate Bill 969, the opportunity scholarship bill. The measure passed 64-33, with four members not voting. 

Advocating for the bill during questions and debate were the sponsor, Rep. Lee Denney of Cushing, along with Reps. Harold Wright of Weatherford, Charles Ortega of Altus, Corey Holland of Marlow, Earl Sears of Bartlesville, Jason Nelson of Oklahoma City and Rebecca Hamilton of Oklahoma City. 

House Minority Leader Scott Inman, a Del City Democrat,
 argued against the bill. 
Most advocates of the bill are Republicans, but Hamilton is a Democrat. Joining her in support of the measure “on the merits” was state Rep. Jabar Shumate of Tulsa, a Democrat and chairman of the Legislature Black Caucus. 

A handful of Republicans who have opposed House GOP Caucus priorities in recent weeks cast mixed votes, backing the measure on the merits but opposing an emergency clause provision. The emergency gained 59 votes, but fell far short of the 68 needed.

The measure was amended to add rural public school benefits to the originally envisioned plan. The measure still authorizes tax credits for creation of a scholarship program that will benefit students who now attend failing schools. 

The amended version, described by state Sen. Dan Newberry of Tulsa as including “good changes,” now returns to the state Senate for final consideration. If it passes there, it will head to Governor Mary Fallin. 

CapitolBeatOK will provide further details on this developing story. 

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