JACKSON, Miss– Time is running out for lawmakers to get the new policies ready to pass across the governor’s desk. The bills that would allow an education voucher for special needs passed the House Wednesday.
“This bill is a long ways from the governor’s desk,” says Representative John Moore. There were four amendments to the bill suggested in the House, none of them passed.
One was proposed by Representative David Baria, and the proposal would create a Office of Special Needs Counsel. That office would then provide 9 statewide lawyers to represent the families of children with special needs, giving free representation that would enforce the student’s constitutional right to a public school education. That bill failed. Moore called it a “retirement plan” for lawyers.
“We provide free legal services to criminals,” says Representative Cecil Brown, “but not to parents of children with special needs.”
State Representative Nick Bain proposed changing the $6,500 for the 500 families to giving $1,000 to 4,000 parents of children with special needs. That amendment was also nixed, with a close vote of 59-56.
After all the amendments were done away with, Representative Jeramey Anderson asked John Moore about the intentions of sending the bill back for work.
“You’d understand why we couldn’t trust you,” says Anderson, “after you were against every amendment here today.”
“The amendments today,” says Moore, “don’t benefit the bill.”