Legislation that would set up the state’s first school voucher program took a major step forward Wednesday as a Senate committee approved a plan favored by Gov. Bill Haslam.
The Senate Education Committee voted 8-1 to pass a bill that would issue vouchers for private school tuition to up to 5,000 low-income students this fall and to as many as 20,000 students in 2017. The move came after the Haslam administration made a concession to committee members by agreeing to expand the pool of students who could qualify for the vouchers.
Lawmakers still have to hammer out major differences between a voucher bill in the state House of Representatives and the Senate version. But the vote marked major progress on voucher legislation, a year after Haslam yanked his plan amid deep differences between him and state senators.