Education 'voucher' amendment passes Senate Finance Committee

Richard Mauer

JUNEAU -- The Senate Finance Committee moved the proposed school-voucher constitutional amendment Wednesday with three members withholding a recommendation to the full Senate.

The measure, Senate Joint Resolution 9, headed to the Rules Committee, where it will probably sit for a while until supporters get the two-thirds vote necessary to pass. Getting 14 senators to agree will be a significant hurdle.

Four members of the Finance Committee recommended passage: Sen. Mike Dunleavy, R-Wasilla, its prime sponsor, and Sens. Kevin Meyer, R-Anchorage; Anna Fairclough, R-Eagle River; and Pete Kelly, R-Fairbanks. Giving no recommendation were Sens. Click Bishop, R-Fairbanks; Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel; and Donald Olson, D-Golovin.

The amendment would also need to pass the House by a two-thirds vote before it could be put on the ballot for ratification by voters. If it became law, it would strip the state constitution of its ban on the use of public funds for private and religious schools.

It took the Finance Committee two days this week to get through a massive list of Alaskans wanting to testify on the measure.

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