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Arkansas LEARNS is approved by the Senate Committee on Education



Little Rock, Arkansas – The first step toward what many legislators believe will be its eventual passage to become law was taken on Wednesday when Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ historic education reform legislation passed the Senate Education Committee.

“Arkansas LEARNS” is sponsored by State Sen. Breanne Davis, who joined Education Secretary Dr. Jacob Oliva in answering questions from lawmakers and members of the public.

“We’ve been taking hundreds of comments and edits, and we have been amending the bill as we go before it was even filed,” Davis said.

Both major parties’ lawmakers expressed appreciation for various components of the bill, but Democratic lawmakers acknowledged there were some parts they could never support.

The law would include early childhood learning programs, compensation hikes for teachers and staff, an enhanced minimum teacher salary, and a school choice account—which is seen to be the most contentious provision.

“I think it says a lot about the fact that Republicans haven’t successfully passed a voucher program despite having a majority for years now up until this point,” State Sen. Greg Leding said. “It looks like they’re going to, but they’ve had to pack the legislation with all this other good stuff in order to win support.”

The conference began at nine in the morning and ended just after one thirty. It started up again before the passing vote at about 4:30 in the afternoon.

“When I go through this bill with people, and they get an understanding of what it is and what it means, they’re good with the bill,” Davis said. “There’s just this time where people are reading through the language and understanding what the bill says.”

The bill will now be heard by the entire Senate, and a vote could happen on Thursday.

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