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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

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Home health, hospice nurses in OR call for union contract agreement; MS ranks low among states for long-term care services, supports; and a look at how adopting children changed the lives of two Texas women.

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Former Vice President Mike Pence reportedly tells investigators more details about efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley wins the endorsement of a powerful Koch brothers' network and a Senate committee targets judicial activists known to lavish gifts upon Supreme Court justices.

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Congress has iced the long-awaited Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents speak out about a planned road through Alaska's Brooks Range a dream destination for hunters and angler.

Battle over school vouchers lingers in Lone Star State

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Monday, November 20, 2023   

A top legislative priority for Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott did not get across the finish line last Friday, despite a fourth special session called this year to address it.

A school voucher bill supported by the governor would have allowed some parents to use tax dollars to send their children to private and religious schools. Critics of the idea opposed the most recent bill and those before it.

Nicole Hill, communications director for the American Federation of Teachers-Texas, said it was just another attempt to privatize public education.

"No matter what anybody tells you, any money being put aside for these private school vouchers is dollars not going to public schools," Hill asserted.

The measure would have allowed eligible students to receive up to $10,000 a year to attend private school. In the final vote Friday, 21 Republicans -- most of whom represent rural districts -- joined all Democrats in withdrawing vouchers from the education funding bill.

Hill noted many Texas educators are leaving the profession for a variety of reasons. At the same time, studies have shown Texas is just behind Florida in the number of Americans choosing to relocate there from other states. She stressed newcomers have expectations their kids' schools will have full-time certified teachers, books in the library and adequate funding.

"I think these are all things that people who are moving to Texas -- who live in Texas -- just expect," Hill contended. "It's going to be a rude awakening when you realize that we don't have these things, even though we can afford them."

The bill's failure has not deterred Gov. Abbott, who has promised lawmakers they will be called back for sessions in December, January and February until they approve voucherlike education savings accounts.

Disclosure: The American Federation of Teachers-Texas contributes to our fund for reporting on Education, Livable Wages/Working Families, Mental Health, and Youth Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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By some estimates, more than 15 million people covered through the ACA exchanges nationally, and 20 million insured by the Medicaid expansion would lose coverage if the Affordable Care Act was repealed. (Fizkes/Adobe Stock)

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