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Republican leaders praise Alabama House for passing school choice bill

On Tuesday, the Alabama House of Representatives passed legislation to give Alabama parents more choices on where they send their child to school. HB129 – The CHOOSE Act – passed in the Alabama House of Representatives. Alabama Republican leaders were quick to praise the House for passage of the number one legislative agenda item for Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R).

House Bill 129 was sponsored by State Representative Danny Garrett (R-Trussville).

"Here in Alabama, we are working hard to ensure that every child has the opportunity to choose an educational path that best helps them grow and learn," said Rep. Garrett. "The CHOOSE Act will provide families around Alabama another option, and I am proud of my colleagues in the House for voting to move this effort forward. I commend Governor Ivey for making this her top legislative priority, and I am proud to sponsor a great school choice bill that is accountable and preserves the historic funding we are investing in public education."

"Today, Alabama took another important step forward in passing an effective and sustainable education savings account plan, the CHOOSE Act," said Gov. Ivey. "I made it clear that providing Alabama families an education savings account option was my number one legislative priority, and I appreciate the Legislature for answering the call and addressing it early in the session. Thank you to Speaker Ledbetter and Representative Garrett for their leadership in the House on this important issue."

"I'm proud the Alabama House of Representatives has advanced the CHOOSE Act to the State Senate," said Speaker of the House Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville). "A student's zip code has no business in determining the quality of their education, and I have no doubt the CHOOSE Act will ensure that is no longer the case. I appreciate Governor Ivey's leadership on this issue and look forward to seeing this legislation cross the finish line."

The bill now moves to the Alabama Senate for its consideration.

"Passing School Choice legislation has been a longtime priority for the Alabama Republican Party," said Alabama Republican Party Chairman John Wahl. "Every single child should have the opportunity to reach their full potential, no matter where they live or what their background is. This bill is a great step in the right direction to making that happen. We believe parents should be in charge of their child's education, and not a government bureaucracy. It's time for Alabama to lead on the issue of School Choice and put our families first again. I would like to thank Representative Danny Garrett, who sponsored HB129, as well as the entire House of Representatives, for passing this important piece of legislation. I look forward to seeing the State Senate take it up as the session continues."

The bill would establish state funded education savings accounts that parents would use to pay tuition to a public school their child is not zoned to. They could use that money for tuition to an accredited private, parochial, or Christian school. They would be eligible for up to $7,000 in tuition assistance. Parents who elect to home school their child would be eligible for up to $2,000 in assistance for educational materials. For families with more than one child in home school the tax credits would be capped at $4,000.

The program is capped at $100 million a year for the first two years.

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