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Thursday, March 14, 2024 - Day 35

Twisting arms until the very end, the House Republican leadership and Gov. Brian Kemp muscled through SB 233, a bill that creates a new private school voucher program in Georgia.

One vote was the margin of victory for pro-voucher advocates.

Seven Republicans joined all but one Democrat in voting against the bill.

The lone Democrat who voted for the voucher bill was Rep. Patty Marie Stinson (formerly Patty Bentley) who represents Dooly, Macon, and Taylor counties in middle Georgia as well as parts of Peach and Sumter counties.

The Republicans who opposed the voucher bills were:

Gerald Greene, R-Cuthbert (Baker, Calhoun, Clay, Early, Miller, Quitman, Randolph, Seminole, and parts of Dougherty)

David Huddleston, R-Roopville (Carroll, Heard, Troup)

Danny Mathis, R-Cochran (Bleckley, Dodge, Telfair, Twiggs, Wilkinson)

Don Parsons, R-Marietta (Cherokee, Cobb)

Mitchell Scoggins, R-Cartersville (Bartow, Cherokee)

Vance Smith, R-Pine Mountain (Harris, Muscogee, Troup), and

Ken Vance, R-Milledgeville (Baldwin, Jones).

The hyperlink associated with each name is to their individual email addresses.  Please take a moment to write them and thank them for their support.  In parentheses are the counties they represent.

The following representatives spoke against the bill: Miriam Paris, Becky Evans, Karlton Howard, Lisa Campbell, Doreen Carter, Vance Smith, Saira Draper, David Wilkerson, and Debbie Buckner.

Republicans who voted against SB 233 last session and who switched their votes to support it are:

Matt Barton, R-Calhoun,
J Collins, R-Villa Rica,

Lehman Franklin, R-Statesboro,
Eddie Lumsden, R-Armuchee,
Butch Parrish, Swainsboro,
Tyler Paul Smith, R-Bremen,
Darlene Taylor, Thomasville, and
Bill Yearta, R-Sylvester.

Rep. Beth Camp, who voted against the bill last year, was absent from the Capitol today due to a family emergency.

There is no doubt that the bill would have failed if all it included was private school vouchers.

But the bill was loaded up with so many other things - some positive - that it passed.

The bill now goes back to the state Senate, where a vote to agree with the House changes to the bill is expected soon.

For more specific details on the changes to the bill, please see yesterday's legislative report.
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