The House Education Committee has passed the charter school bill by a vote of 16-14, which brings up a couple of interesting points in regards to the closeness of the vote.
It seems the recent changes to the committee made by Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, were absolutely needed. You could argue that the addition of Rep. Mark Baker, R-Brandon, was not “absolutely necessary,” but who in their right mind would go to a committee vote with just a one-vote margin if they didn’t have to do so?
The bigger move was Gunn’s removing Rep. Linda Whittington, D-Schlater, and adding Rep. Charles Busby, R-Pascagoula. You could easily say that Busby’s was the vote that prevented a tie and thus kept the bill from moving to the floor of the House.
Speaking of Busby, it’s a little odd that a freshman representative is being given the duty of handling on the House floor what many would consider the most high-profile piece of legislation to be debated this year. Nothing against Busby, but he doesn’t have the experience you would normally choose to handle such a controversial piece of legislation before a body that has several opposition lawmakers skilled in parliamentary procedure – not to mention with silver tongues to boot.
Sam Hall, former head of the Mississippi Democratic Party, and now Clarion Ledger Editor