Voucher-like bill passes with ease in Senate

A controversial bill that would establish education savings accounts to be used at parents' discretion to fund private school and other education costs passed in a 22-5 vote in the Arkansas Senate Tuesday. Senate Bill 746 and its predecessor, House Bill 1222, have a long list of opponents. The legislation was initially opposed by Governor Hutchinson because of its potential cost, but he later said he supported it after HB 1222 was amended to cap the growth of the program. HB 1222 failed in the House last Thursday after passionate testimony from representatives who said the bill would negatively impact public school districts they represent. That same day, SB 746 was amended to mirror the failed legislation.

Governor’s Arkansas Future grant proposal fails to pass committee

Governor Hutchinson's proposal to create a grant that would pay for tuition and fees for students at Arkansas community or technical colleges failed to pass the Senate Education Committee in a 4-4 vote Wednesday. The committee's three Democrats voted against the bill, along with one Republican. It needed five votes to advance.