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.
Brannon's Amendment 12 adds disabilities or academic achievement to the list of characteristics that private schools cannot discriminate against.
Rep. Steve Parker: I can't imagine anyone would oppose this amendment.
Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter: Is it accurate that your amendment takes away the argument that private schools and publics are apples and oranges because publics have no right to refusal, while privates do?
Cobb-Hunter: So private school must accept anyone, if it is accepting public dollars?
Brannon: Yes, with one exception. Under the SGO program, the school has to qualify to receive scholarship dollars and if they're not set up to meet the needs of disabled children, they would qualify to receive these dollars.
Rep. Dwight Loftis: But all public schools do not accept all children with all disabilities.
Brannon: You have to read this amendment in conjunction with the rest of the bill. A private school doesn't have to accept anybody. If they don't qualify by the SGOs, they don't have to accept anyone. Should we set up SGO so they can pick and choose?
Loftis: We should set up schools just as we set up public schools, that don't accept all disabled children.
Herbkersman: Do you think the Governor's School of Science should accept someone whose academic achievement is lower than their standards are right now?
Brannon: That's not apples to apples. Should they be able to discriminate as they choose?
Herbkersman: They should be able to have standards.
Bedingfield moved to table; Brannon requested roll call.
Vote: 66-49, tabled.