Senate Education Committees Hear Game Changing Bills

Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus, introduced a resolution that would change the way Regents are chosen.
Credit Al Such / WABE
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Two big pieces of legislation came before Senate education committees at the Capitol Monday.

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The Senate Higher Education Committee heard a resolution that would change the way Regents, who oversee the university system, are chosen. Right now, the governor appoints all 19 members. State Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus, wants them to be elected.

“Currently, obviously, the governor is of one political party, and is making all the appointments,” McKoon said. “But under an election process, the voters of each district will be represented. They’ll be able to choose their Regent.”

The committee didn’t take a vote.

Shortly afterwards, the Senate Education and Youth Committee took up Gov. Nathan Deal’s plan to turn around struggling schools. Some senators wanted to know how it would be funded. Bill sponsor Rep. Kevin Tanner, R-Dawsonville, said the details are still being worked out.

“At some point, we can continue to talk about it, or we can put a stake in the ground and actually start moving forward,” Tanner said. “And that’s what I think this legislation attempts to do.”

Tanner said the money could come from a new tax credit program and other state dollars. The committee could vote on the bill as early as Friday.