(The Center Square) – Senators in North Carolina are next up for legislation to fund students over school systems.
Edgecombe County Democrat Shelly Willingham broke ranks and voted alongside over five dozen Republicans on Wednesday afternoon, sending Choose Your School, Choose Your Future ahead 65-45. Nine lawmakers were excused, though the legislation has the support of all 102 Republicans in both chambers should Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper issue a veto.
His last two vetoes have been overridden, which state statute requires a three-fifths majority in each chamber to do.
West Virginia, Arizona, Iowa, Utah, Arkansas, and Florida provide universal school choice. Oklahoma became the seventh state to decide on Monday when the governor and leaders of the state’s Senate and House announced a deal.
Pending others, North Carolina will be the eighth to make the choice. All families will be eligible.
Changes were made to the legislation this week. Chief among them, it now “appropriates $250,000 from the General Fund to the Opportunity Scholarship Grant Fund in nonrecurring funds for the 2023-24 fiscal year to be used by the State Educational Assistance Authority for the purposes of verification of domicile set forth in the act,” the legislative website says.
Democrats have been against the move because public funds would be used for private schools. The North Carolina Association of Educators and other traditional public school advocates also oppose the change for the same reason.
At time of publication, the Senate calendar for a possible vote on Thursday was yet to be published.