Introduction to the new Senate Education Committee Chair

Senator Gray Tollison was selected by Lt. Governor Reeves to serve as the chair of the Senate Education Committee. This appointment will give the senator tremendous influence on the education-related bills considered by the legislature.

Below is a brief description of where Sen. Tollison stood on MSF policy goals and other education-related issues during the previous legislative session.

Pre-Kindergarten
Very little action has taken place in the Senate on pre-Kindergarten. A bill designed to create a foundation committed to early childhood development died in the Senate Ed Committee, which happened without a recorded vote.

Charter Schools
Tollison has supported charter legislation during previous sessions, and he voted for Sen. Michael Watson’s charter school bill last year, which died in the House Education Committee.  With both the Governor and Lt. Governor making charter schools a top legislative priority, it seems highly likely that Sen. Tollison will support a new law.

Sex Education
Tollison supported the senate version of HB999, which ultimately became our new sex ed law. It is unclear whether or not the senator would have voted for the original, less-restrictive House version.

Other Education Bills Authored by Tollison
SB2241 – To delete the provision that would have allowed parents to dis-enroll their children in full-day Kindergarten [died in committee]

SB2631 – To establish the Task Force to Study Teacher Salaries [passed in Senate, died in House committee]

SB2684 – Requires the State Board of Education to set the salary of the State Superintendent of Education [signed into law by the governor]

An additional factoid about Senator Tollison is that he switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican shortly after the November elections.

More to come…

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