Current Legislation - Feb. 3, 2011
Opportunity Scholarship Act” (Vouchers) A-2810 (Fuentes, DeCroce, Schaer, Webber): In an afternoon filled with last-minute amendments and heated exchanges, the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee released A-2810 by a 5-0 vote (one member was absent). The bill incorporated the Senate amendments, but limited the voucher program to “only” $360 million. It would allow students in 13 “pilot” districts to receive vouchers up to $11,000 per year to attend private and religious schools. The bill would also earmark 25% of the voucher money for parents of currently enrolled private school students, with the opportunity for more money if public school student demand for vouchers is low. In addition, the bill would require parents of special education students to sign a waiver acknowledging they have no right to special education services. Five percent of the money – $18 million – could be kept by the “scholarship organizations” as an “administrative fee.” NJEA Associate Director of Government Relations Sean Hadley testified against the bill. It now awaits action by the Assembly Budget Committee.
Children’s Dental Health: SJR-20 (Vitale)/AJR-42 (Conaway, Quijano). This legislation, which designates the month of February in each year as “Children’s Dental Health Month,” was favorably reported out of the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee on February 3, 2011. The bill now moves to the full Assembly for consideration. NJEA supports this legislation.