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School Choice is Alive and Well

May 14, 2009

By Taft Matney

According to The Associated Press (, yesterday’s action recommitting S.520 to the Senate K-12 Education Subcommittee killed the bill.

Of course, if you attended yesterday’s Senate Education Committee meeting or talked with someone who did, you know that the AP got the story wrong.

The AP reported, “South Carolina legislators have again killed a bill to use taxpayer money to help parents send their children to private schools,” by claiming that, “The Senate Education Committee on Wednesday sent the bill back to a subcommittee.”

There is a lot of “inside baseball” the AP failed to report, though.

From the video ( and you may want to turn off the HD function for the video to load more quickly) committee chairman Senator Courson plainly states that Senator Ford, the bill’s primary sponsor, sent a letter on Tuesday, May 12 requesting that no action to be taken in committee and for his bill to be recommitted to the subcommittee.

“I will make that motion now, that we accept the senator’s wishes,” Chairman Courson said.

Why did Senator Ford send the letter?

The answer is simple. He felt that S.520 wouldn’t get a fair shake if debated in committee based on other factors around the Statehouse. There were only 4 days left in the regular legislative session, judicial elections were yesterday, and the legislature is trying to wrap up the budget this week.

Taking those factors in to account, if action were taken, with some additional questions needing answers by certain committee members, the committee’s vote would be rushed, premature, and potentially to the detriment of the bill.

Senator Ford simply used his years of legislative experience to implement a strategy that looked out for the future of South Carolina’s children.

So, contrary to the AP, it was the bill’s sponsor who kept the bill alive. It was not the committee killing the bill.

Those are the real facts.

Do you want a seat at the table? Do you want to have a voice in South Carolina’s public policy process? If you do, then contact your legislators and let them know how you feel.

If you want to get involved but need legislators’ contact information, go to and enter your ZIP code. It’s that easy.

Don’t forget to pass this along to your South Carolina friends and
* ask them to join “Conservatives in Action” on Facebook
* invite them to sign up for updates by e-mailing
* ask them to get involved in the political process.

We’re all responsible for our state’s future.

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