The Lawmaker Quarterbacking The Governor’s Voucher Proposal Isn’t Negotiating

Tennessee Senators Brian Kelsey (left) and Mark Norris in 2010. Kelsey says he's hopeful for a compromise on school vouchers this year, but Norris says the two haven't been talking. (Image via MarkNorris.org)

Tennessee Senators Brian Kelsey (left) and Mark Norris in 2010. Kelsey says he’s hopeful for a compromise on school vouchers this year, but Norris says the two haven’t been talking. (Image via MarkNorris.org)

The state senator tasked with passing Gov. Bill Haslam’s school voucher proposal says he’s not in negotiations with a lawmaker pushing for a more expansive version.

Any voucher program would divert state education dollars to help poor families afford tuition at private schools.

Haslam’s administration wants a relatively small voucher program—a sort of test batch of a few thousand to start out.  Germantown Republican Brian Kelsey has pushed for a broader rollout, and says he’d like to reach a compromise with the administration this year.  There’s just one problem, says Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris:

“I know there are people who want to think there are great negotiations underway, and I’m not aware of any.  I just want to get on with the bill.  Seriously.”

Norris is quarterbacking the governor’s voucher proposal, and says he and Kelsey have not been hashing out a compromise.

“The governor pretty-much wants to stick with what he had, and I just want to get on with it.  So I guess the compromise we’re talking about is between the governor and me to get on with the show.”

Norris was forced to spike the governor’s voucher plan last year, over fears Kelsey would hijack the bill with an amendment to give out many more vouchers.

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