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Texas House votes to remove 'education savings accounts' provision of education bill

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has said he'll veto any omnibus spending bill without the voucher-like programs.

The Republican-led Texas House of Representatives voted this afternoon to remove a provision from an education omnibus bill that would create a school voucher-like program for Texas.

The House’s move is a blow to Gov. Greg Abbott, who has spent the past year championing education savings accounts and pressuring lawmakers to vote for them. Before Friday’s amendment stripping the measure from House Bill 1, today would have been the first time in nearly two decades that the Texas House voted on such a program.

The provision from the omnibus bill was removed by an 84-63 vote. Northeast Texas state representatives voting to remove the provision included Reggie Smith, Gary VanDeaver and Keith Bell.

Justin Holland also voted to remove the measure. He spoke with CBS News about his stance:

“One of the main questions is, I ask myself, is it conservative to have a general revenue expansion of government to the tune of 500 million to a billion dollars over the next few years, for just a few students in the State of Texas to take advantage of?”

Three lawmakers from the KETR listening area voted against removing the provision. Cole Hefner, Jeff Leach, and Candy Noble voted to keep the voucher-like program in the bill.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has said he’ll veto any bill without the educational savings accounts included. The bill will next go the governor’s desk.

Mark Haslett has served at KETR since 2013. Since then, the station's news operation has enjoyed an increase in listener engagement and audience metrics, as well recognition in the Texas AP Broadcasters awards.