On Tuesday night, the Democrats tried to run out the clock to prevent a vote on final passage for school choice. However, in a tight vote, HB 563 narrowly passed 48-47. The bill will now be sent to Governor Beshear's desk where a veto is expected. 51 out of 100 votes will be required to override the governor's veto.
Sadly, despite overwhelming support in Kentucky for school choice (86% Republican support and 62% Democratic support), one-third of Republicans turned their backs on students who have suffered so much during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thankfully, at the end of the roll call, Democratic Rep. Al Gentry (D - Louisville) courageously crossed the party line to cast the deciding vote.
In doing so, he ignored the lies of his Democratic colleagues like those of Rep. Mary Lou Marzian (D - Louisville) who claimed that private schools are only for "rich kids."
Instead, he stood behind the students who want to attend schools in his district like St. Rita where 55% of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch.
In an era where even Republicans continue to bend to the teacher union's strong-armed tactics used to maintain their monopoly at all costs, Representative Gentry gave hope to thousands of families across Kentucky.
In fact, many have already called Representative Gentry's vote "the most courageous vote in Kentucky's history." We tend to agree.
Watch Rep. Gentry's floor speech below: