Republican lawmakers pass school voucher bills Whitmer promises to veto

LANSING, Mich. – Republican lawmakers took final votes on veto-destined bills early Wednesday that would let Michigan students attend private schools and pay other educational expenses with scholarship accounts funded by people and corporations that would get tax credits for their donations.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat who opposes vouchers, has called the fast-tracked legislation a “nonstarter.” The state has what is considered to be the country’s strictest constitutional ban on providing public assistance to nonpublic schools.

GOP legislators say the bills would boost educational opportunities for kids who have fallen behind during the coronavirus pandemic and give parents additional choices. Democrats call the proposal unconstitutional and say it would drain resources from public schools.

The legislation, first approved in the Republican-led Legislature last week, cleared the House on 55-49 votes during a marathon session that stretched beyond midnight.

K-12 students would be eligible if their family income is no more than double the cutoff to receive free or reduced-priced lunch — $98,050 for a family of four — or if they have a disability or are in foster care.

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