Pa. House GOP splits, votes down vouchers for closed schools, mask requirements

PA Capital Star by Stephen Caruso, September 30, 2021

Another vote on the measure could be coming in the future, but Republican leadership hasn’t said when

The Pennsylvania House voted down an amendment to an already controversial school voucher bill this week that would have allowed parents to send their kids to private school with taxpayer money due to either a COVID-19 outbreak or due to their opposition to mitigation efforts — such as a mask order. Tuesday’s 94-105 vote, marked a rare defeat for the Republican-controlled chamber’s leadership, which usually does not bring bills to the House floor unless they know they have the votes for them to pass. Eighteen GOP lawmakers, mostly from the Philadelphia suburbs, voted against the bill, underlining the complicated politics when two heated issues — COVID-19 and school choice — collide. The original bill offered to give any student whose school does not offer full-time, in-person instruction a tuition voucher worth the average per-student state subsidy for their district.  The bill is not restricted to just COVID-19-related school closings. And there are no limits on the number of vouchers that could be issued.

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