Education vote delayed by maneuvers

(December 19, 2003) - (Little Rock-AP) -- The state Senate has yet to vote on Governor Huckabee's school consolidation plan. Yesterday, an attempt to lower the governor's minimum school district size was defeated. But a vote on the bill was delayed at least a day through a parliamentary move. The attempt to amend Huckabee's plan fell three votes short of the 24 votes required to take up the measure. Consolidation opponents then blocked Huckabee's proposal by objecting to the lack of a fiscal impact statement. The sponsor, Senator Jim Argue, says he will comply with a state law requiring that a cost analysis of the bill be given to members 24 hours before a final vote if any member requests it. Among the options he considered was providing colleagues with a recommendation for improvements that consultants gave a special committee this summer. The price tag was 847 million dollars a year. Huckabee says the maneuvering to block the vote affirmed that he had the 18 votes needed to pass the bill in the Senate.