Today, Democratic members of the House Choice and Innovation Committee (aka the voucher committee) closed ranks and opposed the HR 7099 which would deliver the largest expansion of the voucher program in the state’s history. Both Reps. Shevrin Jones (D-Hollywood) and Randolph Bracy (D-Orlando) who had voted on the pro-voucher side of a much more limited measure a week ago opposed today’s voucher bill. The bill passed on a straight party line vote.
Both Representatives showed great courage in opposing the voucher bill along with the two other committee Democrats. This vote further indicates that the Democratic caucus is returning to its previously strong anti-voucher stands despite the attempts of pro-voucher groups to infiltrate the party’s political processes.
Even though HR 7099 as it stands now is unlikely to win Senate passage it is important House Democrats show a united front on this threat to public education in the state of Florida. Much like the parent trigger legislation in the last two sessions, minimizing Democratic House defections allowed enough cover for moderate Republicans in the Senate to cross over and kill the dangerous legislation. The goal this session with HR 7099 must be the same.
Today was a big step in achieving that goal.
For those who have not seen the videos we released this morning of pro-voucher leader Doug Tuthill, a former liberal Democrat and his views on the political side of the issue, check them out here.