Private Option Fails in House, Deal Reached in Senate


A bill that includes funding for the Private Option failed to get enough votes in the Arkansas House Tuesday, but Speaker Davy Carter said that his chamber will keep voting until it passes.Over in the Senate, Governor Mike Beebe said a compromise he brokered puts that chamber at the needed 27 votes to get the bill through. Senator Jane English was a 'no' vote on the bill last year, but in a meeting with the Governor, she agreed to vote 'yes' on the bill with the new amendments. The governor says he and key lawmakers will support changes to the state's workforce training program in return.{}English is a former director of the state's Workforce Investment Board and a project manager at the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. Beebe said English has pushed for changes in the program for years. He will now support a plan to reallocate money given to two-year colleges for workforce training. That money will be combined with existing Department of Workforce Services money and will be distributed by AEDC to programs aimed at filling specific vacancies in the workforce.Beebe said English is an independent thinker and tough to sway. He said he agreed to the compromise because he believes that the senator's plan will improve the current system."She believes in something it's hard to get her to believe a different way. She's strong-willed, but this is something she believes in so it worked out," said Beebe.{} {}{}The Senate will vote on the Private Option funding for the first time on Wednesday. The House will take its second vote on the bill.