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School vouchers primed for final vote after committee maneuver

A bill that would create a voucher-like system to fund private school costs in Alabama moved a step closer to final passage as a Senate committee met early Tuesday to discuss the bill.

Sen. Roger Smitherman (D-Birmingham) criticized the sudden decision to convene the committee on Tuesday while the Senate is in recess, rather than on Wednesday as originally scheduled. .

“We had no way of knowing that this meeting had taken place,” Smitherman said.

Sen. Kirk Hartcher (D-Montgomery) said the bill “cuts off the head of public education.”

The commission did not add a cap on the amount that education groups, including the Alabama Education Association, had sought to protect the education trust fund.

ALGOP Chairman John Wall on Monday predicted the bill would pass the Senate this week, criticizing the concerns of “educational unions,” which don't exist in Alabama. The comments suggest that Wahl was a hounding of the AEA, as he had previously incorrectly referred to it as a teachers' union.

The Senate has its hands full with major bills to consider on the floor, and a bill granting immunity for IVF clinics is expected to be a top priority given the urgency surrounding the bill.

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However, Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) told Mary Sell of the Alabama Daily News to expect a vote on the bill in the Senate on Wednesday.

The Senate has finally decided to take up the gambling bill, but the committee made significant changes to the bill from its approval in the House.

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