12-6

After 11 hours of hearings, the House Education Committee passed HB 976, the main bill in Gov. Jindal’s education reform package (providing for school choice and facilitating expanded charter school authorization) by a number actually a little larger than expected – the vote count was thought to be something like 10-8 or 11-7.

There were a number of amendments passed to the bill. There were also a number of amendments attempted by Democrats John Bel Edwards and Pat Smith, and none of those got more than seven votes. Finally, Rep. John Schroeder (R-Covington) made a motion to end amendments and vote on the bill, and that passed by a 12-6 count.

Smith, who had been the author of most of the amendments, then predictably called Schroeder’s successful motion a “travesty” and decried the loss of her free speech as a legislator.

Or something like that.

This after admitting that her amendments had little to no chance of passage. When Schroeder made the motion he sounded exasperated, and the rest of the committee looked that way as well.

Besides, they still have the teacher tenure bill to consider, and that will likely keep them in the hearing room past midnight.

The Senate version of the bill will be taken up tomorrow, amid what’s expected to be as big a circus as today’s proceedings have been.

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