Oklahoma Senate votes down Oklahoma Empowerment Act

A bill that would allow funds to follow a student from public to private school failed last night in the Oklahoma Senate.

For several hours, lawmakers were locked in a statement with a debate on Senate Bill 1647, also known as the Oklahoma Empowerment Act.

Both sides of the argument say this bill is about the kids but some believe this isn’t the way. Republican Sen. Jake Merrick says parents are upset and want change, but are unsure the bill will be beneficial in the long run.

In the end, it was a close vote but SB1647 failed by a vote of 22 to 24. The bill needed 25 yes votes in order to pass.

Had it passed, it would have taken more than $3,000 of state funds allocated for a student and put them into a savings account the parents can access. The money could have been used toward private school tuition, tutoring services, or specialized after-school or summer programs.

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