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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Lynn and Thrasher quibble over parent trigger bill

6

March

The hotly debated parent trigger bill will make it to the Senate Floor after all.

The controversial proposal, SB 1718, would allow parents to demand sweeping changes at low-performing public schools, including having the school converted into a charter school. The proposal has divided the Senate, and insiders predict any vote on the bill would be really, really close.

On Monday night, the Senate Rules Committee voted 3-3 to block the bill from being placed on the calendar.

But on Tuesday night, Republicans made sure a fourth vote (a previously preoccupied Budget Chairman JD Alexander) attended the Rules Committee meeting. What's more, Rules Chairman John Thrasher prevented members from voting on each bill separately.

The move outraged Republican Sen. Evelyn Lynn.

Lynn said she had received thousands of calls from constituents on the issue -- and aruged that she should be able to vote her conscience.

"The political maneuver was unnecessary," Lynn said. "I do not quite understand why that process was used."

Democratic Sen. Nan Rich, another opponent of the bill, was also incensed. "If something is that egregious to us that we would like to separate it out, we should be able to," she said.

Still, Thrasher denied the request, saying he had done everything possible to be "as open and transparent to everyone on the committee."

The committee voted 4-3 to hear the entire proposed agenda -- including the trigger bill -- on Thursday.

The meeting was more evidence that the Senate is in a state chaos. We'll see what happens on the Floor Thursday.

[Last modified: Tuesday, March 6, 2012 8:05pm]

    

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