PSBA Special Victory Report: House Bill 1800 voucher plan stopped
PSBA has learned that the House of Representatives will not be voting today on the private school voucher plan under House Bill 1800 (Rep. Turzai, R-Allegheny).
Although debate on the bill began last evening and the bill remains on the House calendar, a decision was made by House leaders not to continue discussion today. At the earliest, the bill could be brought up again as early as December, but its fate is uncertain at this time.
Your association working for you
PSBA aggressively fought to defeat efforts in the House of Representatives to pass the bill. Your lobbying team met with individual legislators every day this week to talk about the numerous problems with the flawed proposal. We presented information and emphasized the negative impact of private school vouchers on all students and public schools.
We worked hard to block passage of House Bill 1800 and our influence made a difference as it became evident that there was not enough support for passage on the House floor. When the debate was held on the House floor, PSBA remained at the Capitol to continue advocating against the bill. We worked with other public education stakeholders, most notably the PA State Education Association (PSEA), to push for the defeat of vouchers.
What happened last evening
On Monday, House Bill 1800 was pushed out of the House Education Committee with a narrow vote of 13-12 amidst concerns and questions raised about various pieces of the proposal. It was quickly moved to the House floor with a vote scheduled for Wednesday.
Yesterday afternoon Speaker Turzai spent extended time in caucus trying to convince members to support the bill. The measure was brought up for first consideration around 5:30 p.m., with over 30 amendments to the bill filed. Debate was held on eight of the amendments, with all failing on a party-line vote of 91-105.
Speaker Turzai, who had left the rostrum to tackle debate on the amendments himself, called the question to move the bill to second consideration. This is considered a procedural motion to bypass the rest of the amendments and move the bill up on the calendar in order to vote on it quicker. At that point, there was a request for a roll call to move the bill to second consideration and the speaker was informed that there were not enough votes to pass his motion. Following that defeat, the House debated one more amendment and the decision was made to "pass over" the bill, meaning that further discussion was discontinued.
HB 1800 remains on the calendar, as do the remaining amendments, but it is unclear if and when it will be brought back up.
Your voice was heard!
Following the hasty scheduling of House Bill 1800, hundreds of public school advocates flooded the House with messages of opposition. Since last week, hundreds of emails and calls were made in response to PSBA's Legislative Alerts. In addition, other emails, calls and social media messages were sent out as well.
Your individual voice was heard, and our collective voice made a difference. We sent a strong and clear message - schools and taxpayers do not support this government giveaway to private schools.
Over the next weeks, we will be reaching out to thank those who supported our efforts. Thank you for your work!