The wait is finally over. After months of promises and grandstanding, Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, with only hours remaining before the bill-filing deadline, finally fulfilled his pledge to file a school voucher bill.
If you’ve been listening to Sen. Patrick since last August, you would think that this moment would be met with fanfare and cheers. Let’s recap.
Patrick told the Houston Chronicle back in August that a “school choice” bill would be the Voter ID bill of this session.
The same month Patrick went to the Republican Party National Convention in Florida, where he said this:
We do not have a plan that we’re ready to unveil at this point. We still have months to go. There are lots of ideas. But I can assure you that we will have a plan, whomever brings that together.
Then there was the big press event Patrick held with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst at a Catholic school near the Capitol. There, just days before Christmas, Patrick made grand promises about school reforms and touted his coming voucher legislation.
Yet it took Patrick until the 11th hour to actually produce a bill. And SB 1410 – along with other voucher bills — have been met with more of a Price is Right FAIL horn than with applause, even from members of Patrick’s own party. His House colleagues, Public Education Committee Chair Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, and Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, do not appear to want any part of vouchers in their chamber (see this and this).
Yes, there is still a long way to go before Sine Die, and this being Texas, anything can happen. But it appears that Patrick’s bill and vouchers in general might be, as the former communications director of the Austin Independent School District wrote earlier this week, on life support.