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GOP chair: School choice bills ‘coming back’

Alabama Republican Party Chairman John Wahl said he was disappointed that more school choice reforms weren’t passed this year, but believes they will come up again in the future.

Friday on Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal,” Wahl recapped the positives and negatives from this year’s legislative session.

“Not everything got across the finish line, but there’s always next session,” Wahl said. “That’s the wonderful thing about legislation. Good legislation usually does get passed. Sometimes is just takes a while.”

Wahl believes real school choice reforms are just too popular to be ignored by lawmakers in Montgomery.

“Over the last few years this issue has been becoming more and more important to voters,” he said. “Not just to the party base, but actually to the voters of Alabama, whether that’s Republicans or Democrats. We’re seeing this overarching idea, school choice, being incredibly popular, especially with minority voters.

“So it’s something that I think is definitely becoming more popular. It’s something that we’re going to see coming back both from the party’s perspective, but also from the voters’ perspective.”

He also said the issue will be discussed not just in Alabama, but across the country.

“And I think somebody we’ll really see highlight that is the presidential campaign,” he said. “We’re seeing a lot of the presidential candidates talk about parental rights, school choice, and how to get parents back and more involved in the educational process for their children.”

Wahl said the 2023 session was a good one overall, but hopes some of the priorities that didn’t make it through this year will be able to pass next year.

“Some of the work I’m very proud of this session,” he said. “Things like paying off all our debts and really funding all our rainy day funds. Fiscally it was a good session. Also the largest tax cut in Alabama history with cutting the grocery tax. That’s something the party was very supportive of.

“But then of course there’s other areas where we would have liked to have seen legislation passed … voter integrity, looking at the absentee ballot reform the process. We’d love to see some legislation on that.”

Yaffee is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts “The Yaffee Program” weekdays 9-11 a.m. on WVNN. You can follow him on Twitter @Yaffee

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