Senate Democrats and a handful of Republican colleagues allied on Tuesday to defeat a measure to use taxpayer funding to send public school students to private schools.
What infuriated some of the supporters is that two of the chamber’s top Republicans helped ensure its loss.
The first is Senate President pro tem Butch Miller of Gainesville, who voted against it. He declined to comment.
The second is Majority Leader Mike Dugan of Carrollton, one of three Republicans who didn’t vote. He blamed a function at City Hall. Also not voting: State Sen. Jeff Mullis of Chickamauga, leader of the agenda-setting Rules Committee.
They weren’t the only Republicans to break party lines. Jack Hill of Reidsville, who voted for the measure in committee, opposed it on the floor. Other Republican “no” votes include Tyler Harper of Ocilla, Greg Kirk of Americus, Ellis Black of Valdosta and Dean Burke of Bainbridge.
The backlash was immediate. Erick Erickson railed against the “no” votes on WSB Radio. And Cole Muzio of the conservative Family Policy Alliance said the vote sent a message that the “political pressure of the public institutions outweighed the interests of Georgia children.”
There’s a chance the bill could be voted on again on Thursday’s crossover deadline. It has the full backing of Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and Gov. Brian Kemp. But it’s unlikely.
It failed 25-28, meaning that it needs to gain at least four votes. Some supporters are reluctant to back it a second time, feeling the heat from public school advocates.
Insider’s note: This item was ripped from the Daily Jolt.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.