"Charter School Bill Passes. What Took So Long?" by Politics Blog | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Politics Blog

Charter School Bill Passes. What Took So Long?

Since last year's surprising defeat of charter-school legislation in the Mississippi House Education Committee, proponents of the public-private schools seemed to want passing a charter school law priority No. 1. In the offseason, Speaker Philip Gunn even stacked the committee to clear the way for charter schools to pass and land on the House floor for a vote.

When the session started, I expected the legislative equivalent of shock-and-awe, a ramming down the throat of a charter school bill by the Republican leadership to show everybody who was in charge.

In the intervening 90 days, however, the Legislature has busied itself adding meaningless layers to existing laws on top federal laws. Affirming the right to bear arms and school prayer, constitutionally enshrined protections that weren't going anywhere even had the Legislature not sprang to action. So inane were some of the proposals--exempting Mississippi from federal law, banning bans on big soda--that Mississippi lawmakers couldn't stay out of the comedy headlines.

Finally, this week, both houses got their ish together to pass a long-coveted measure to expand charter schools in Mississippi. The House approved the conference report earlier in the week with no debate. Today, after a lengthy discussion, the Senate followed suit.

Next up: a bill signing by Gov. Phil Bryant.

What happens after that is anybody's guess.


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