This past week the House voted two times to kill SB 193, the statewide voucher bill, by sending it to interim study. But late last night, the Senate brought back the voucher bill by attaching the original version of the legislation (the version introduced in early 2017) to an unrelated bill, HB 1636. The Senate then passed HB 1636. So SB 193 is now back up for consideration.
The version of SB 193 that the House killed extended eligibility to ~38,000 students in New Hampshire in its first year. The non-partisan Legislative Budget Assistant (LBA) estimated that this version of the bill would have resulted in local taxpayers assuming the costs for the loss of ~$99 million in state funding over eleven years.
The version of SB 193 passed by the Senate last night extends eligibility to ~170,000 students in New Hampshire in its first year, including students currently in private school and homeschool. This means the financial impact on local taxpayers could be over four times greater than what the LBA estimated.
See Reaching Higher NH’s preliminary cost analysis here and stay tuned for a comprehensive analysis early next week.
In a party-line vote, senators opted to tack the original version of Senate Bill 193 onto House Bill 1636, an unrelated bill about establishing a committee to study teacher preparation programs and charter school facilities.
The move followed a failed attempt earlier that morning to resurrect SB 193 in the House using a motion to reconsider. That motion failed narrowly, 172-165. The bill was referred to interim study – considered a polite death in the second year of a biennium – by the House on Wednesday by a vote of 170-159.
“It was very close in the House, and I think the supporters of 193 want one last chance. So that’s the reason behind it,” said Republican Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley of Wolfeboro. “There are some skeptics in the House. We’re obviously going to have to win them over.”
HB 1636 – with SB 193 attached – now goes back to the House, which next convenes May 10. The chamber will have the opportunity to vote the bill up or down or to send it to conference committee, where a group of lawmakers from both chambers can craft a compromise piece of legislation. If the conference committee can agree on a bill, it will be sent back to the House and Senate for approval.