Senate Bill 969 by Sen. Dan Newberry (R-Tulsa) and Rep. Lee Denney (R-Cushing) cleared the Oklahoma House of Representatives this morning by a vote of 64-33. The bill had already cleared the state Senate, and now will make one more pass through the Senate before it goes to Governor Mary Fallin's desk.
Under this legislation, which is modeled after successful programs in Pennsylvania and Arizona, Oklahoma businesses and individuals can qualify for tax credits for contributions made to scholarship-granting organizations. These philanthropic organizations, in turn, offer private-school scholarships to qualifying students in need, special-needs students, and others. (Contributions can also be made to support innovative programs in public schools.) This scholarship tax credit idea is popular with Oklahoma voters, is supported by state Superintendent Janet Barresi, and was given a thumbs-up this month by the Supreme Court of the United States. There is every reason to be optimistic that Gov. Fallin will sign the bill into law.