Short of votes, Senate leaders skip committee’s review of education bill

By JAKE ZUCKERMAN

Charleston Gazette-Mail

Senate Majority Leader Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha, takes questions from Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso, D-Marion, during on a debate on moving the education omnibus bill to the Committee of the Whole. (West Virginia Legislative Photography photo)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Deploying a procedural move not seen in the West Virginia Senate since 1961, Republicans voted Monday to circumvent a committee that was likely to vote down an education overhaul package that includes enabling charter schools in West Virginia.

The Senate Education Committee passed the 144-page bill on Friday after releasing it publicly on Thursday, and referred it to the Senate Finance Committee. However, Senate Democrats and two Republicans on that committee, including the vice chairman, have said they oppose the bill.

So Republicans voted Monday to skip that committee and instead send the bill to a “Committee of the Whole,” which essentially turns all 34 senators into a quasi-committee and allows them to amend, debate or send the bill to the Senate floor.

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