Thursday, March 10, 2016
OKLAHOMA CITY – House Speaker Jeff Hickman and Senate President Pro-Tempore Brian Bingman announced neither the House nor Senate will be voting on separate measures today that would create Education Savings Accounts (ESAs). The leaders resolved to continue working on the critical issue of providing Oklahoma children with needed educational opportunities until a resolution can be agreed upon by legislators of both chambers.
“The focus of this effort has been, first and foremost, to find solutions for the children who desperately need better opportunities and to know someone cares,” said Hickman, R-Fairview. “The desire to improve student outcomes and empower parents without harming our public schools will be the goal we continue to work toward in the future.”
The bills that had passed legislative committees were House Bill 2949 and Senate Bill 609.
“I appreciate Senator Jolley’s efforts on SB 609,” said Bingman (R-Sapulpa). “He’s worked tirelessly on this issue for years and deserves credit for his efforts regardless of where you stand on the issue. This conversation is an important one that shouldn’t be forced by legislative deadlines. It’s my hope that further work and conversation on this issue would result in a compromise solution.”
Hickman and Bingman said both chambers will engage members to continue working on the issue, building consensus and developing proposals to help these children.
“I appreciate legislative leaders for continuing the conversation on Education Savings Accounts,” said Governor Mary Fallin. “It’s important to give low-income parents the ability to determine the best educational opportunities for their children. All students learn differently and should have the opportunity to attend a school that offers the best learning environment for each student to be successful. I look forward to working with the House and Senate to develop effective legislation on ESAs.”