Note: Following is an encapsulation of actions taken and remarks made by legislators during today's debate. While this note does reflect remarks made by these lawmakers, it is not a full and verbatim transcript of the remarks.
Amendments 4 through 9 are passed over; Amendment 10 is explained by Rep. Doug Brannon.
Brannon: Pointless, but this amendment deal with transparency and accountability. Every independent school accepting grants shall undergo an audit and report to the Education Oversight Committee. If they're going to take state money, they should tell what they're doing with it.
Rep. Seth Whipper: They're taking state money?
Brannon: They're private, nonprofit organizations handing out money that would have come to the state.
Whipper: But the money doesn't come from the state.
Brannon: Corporations can contribute money to an SGO and save up to 65 percent of their state tax obligation. Rather than pay taxes, they can reduce their bill by giving money to an SGO.
Whipper: What state standards for anything are involved in this bill?
Brannon: You saw that Rep. Anthony's amendment to create some standards was just shot down. I'm just trying to account for money.
Rep. Bill Herbkersman: Let's talk about state money. It's taxpayer money. If you contribute money to your church, that's tax deductible. You wouldn't tell me not to give to the cancer society because it takes money away from the state, would you? But you would for giving money for school choice?
Brannon: We're dealing with education here. These organizations should be accountable.
Herbkersman: But it's not state money, it's taxpayer money.
Rep. Gene Pinson: Who can argue that we should oppose transparency or accountability?
Bedingfield moved to table, Brannon asked for roll call.
Vote: 69-48, tabled.