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Tennessee lawmakers are considering a sweeping expansion of a voucher-like program that is estimated to cost $71 million.
Supporters of the new proposal say it gives parents unprecedented choice and allows them to customize their children's education in a way that best serves them. Opponents have called it vouchers on steroids and say it threatens public schools.
The proposal would let parents get the money used to pay for a public school - roughly $7,000 per child per year - and use it for approved expenses. The money could pay for such things as private school tuition, homeschool curriculum and field trips.
Rep. Roger Kane, who sponsored the House bill, said parents would get money loaded quarterly on debit cards that would be subject to audits.
Gov. Bill Haslam's transportation funding proposal has been parked for another week in the House after lawmakers argued about the best timing to vote on the measure.
The governor's plan involves raising taxes on gasoline and diesel while also making cuts in other areas like the sales tax on groceries, the tax on earnings from stocks and bonds and the corporate taxes paid by large manufacturers.
Under changes made earlier, the fuel tax hikes would be removed in favor of funding road projects by designating a small percentage of the sales tax collections.
Several members of the House Transportation Committee on worried that the gas tax element could be reinserted by later action in the House or Senate and voted to delay a vote until next week.
A bill seeking to reduce the penalty for possessing small amounts of marijuana in Tennessee has been extinguished in a state Senate committee.
The Judiciary Committee voted 6-3 on Tuesday against the measure sponsored by Sen. Jeff Yarbro. The bill would have made possession of less than one-eighth of an ounce of marijuana a Class C misdemeanor punishably by a fine of no more than $50.
Pot possession is currently a Class A misdemeanor that can be punished with up to nearly a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
The legislation was filed by Yarbro and Rep. Harold Love, a fellow Nashville Democrat, in response to a Republican bill to repeal any city ordinances to reduce the penalty for people who possess small amounts of marijuana.
The Cumberland County School Calendar Advisory Committee is presenting two calendar options to vote on for the FY 2018-2019 School Year:
Option 1: Traditional Calendar
Option 2: Balanced Calendar
Both calendars have the same number of student instructional days of 180 and teacher contract days of 200.
The survey is open now to March 13, 2017 for voting. The winning calendar will be presented to the Board of Education for their review and approval.
The survey is available at www.ccschools.k12tn.net, to cast your vote.
Director of Schools Janet Graham says your input is appreciated.
Opponents of Tennessee's controversial bathroom bill won a small victory as the bill's sponsor decided to delay the proposed piece of legislation during a House subcommittee hearing.
Representative Mark Pody said Tuesday afternoon he was putting the bill "off notice" due to the constantly changing legal status of similar measures at the federal level.
If passed the "bathroom bill" would mandate that students use the bathroom which corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate. LGBT rights groups have called the legislative discriminatory against those in the transgender community.
On Tuesday a fiscal note attached to the bill also revealed that it could cost the state $1 billion in revenue.
A Senate version of the "bathroom bill" is set to be debated on Wednesday. It's unclear if the sponsors will also delay discussion of the proposal then as well.