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Lawmakers clash over school choice bills

Democrats and Republicans clashed Wednesday over a proposal that would expand the state’s school voucher program and create another voucher-like program for children with special needs.

Democrats made their concerns known by proposing a series of "unfriendly" amendments, one of which would have required students in the voucher program to take the state tests. But each was rejected by the Republican-led chamber, and the bill advanced toward a final vote.

Despite the opposition, House Speaker Will Weatherford said he felt "very good about the bill’s chances."

"I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t see some bipartisanship on it [when the House votes on the bill] on Friday," Weatherford said. "But at the end of the day, we are trying to expand opportunities for kids. This bill will give more choices to more families and more students, and we think that’s a great thing."

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