MOULTON — School choice was a major topic of discussion during the Alabama Legislature's 2023 regular session, with the Parental Rights in Children's Education (PRICE) Act at the center of the debate. After State Rep. Ernie Yarbrough's (R-Trinity) version of the bill in the House never made it out of committee, he said he was happy to hear Gov. Kay Ivey prioritize the issue for the next regular session.

"My goal is for Alabama to be the most school choice-friendly state in the nation," Ivey said on Alabama Public Television's "Capitol Journal" last Friday.

Yarbrough said it was "cool" to hear Ivey, who has been mostly silent on recent public policy issues, put her support and political power behind the issue.

"School choice was an important topic for me in the context of wanting to make sure that … whatever else we do, regardless of whatever educational platform that you believe is best for your children that the hands of the parents are on the financial steering wheel," Yarbrough said during a community meeting in Moulton Monday. "...It was actually kind of cool now to see Governor Ivey came out ... and said that's going to be a top priority for her in the next session."

Yarbrough told 1819 News he met with the governor and other state officials many times last session to discuss the PRICE Act, but he's not been given any details about the bill Ivey claims to be working on currently for 2024.

"I would like to hope and think that those discussions with the governor, the lieutenant governor and so forth will help influence whatever bill they put forward. I do look forward to seeing it. I do hope whatever is put forward will do its utmost to protect the current freedoms and liberties that each of the unique educational institutions, be they home school, private school, faith-based, public school, that it honors the things that those different educational options and alternatives have been protected in our state."

Whatever form the bill takes, Yarbrough said he plans to be involved in seeing the final version is up to his standards.

"It'll be very interesting to see what is put forward, and I'm sure that my name will probably be somewhere involved in that conversation as well," he said.

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