PHOENIX – A flustered Sen. David Schapira struggled to explain why he voted in favor of private school vouchers during yesterday's KAET Horizon debate.
Just a few months ago, Schapira voted in favor of a controversial school voucher bill that Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law.
Schapira said he didn’t know he was voting to approve school vouchers because Republicans had inserted an amendment at the “last minute.” [See Horizon video at beginning at 6:30] Yet, Senate records show that a fact sheet detailing the voucher provision was available four days – that’s 5,760 minutes – prior to Schapira’s vote.
Schapira also blamed the Senate’s computer system for not showing the amendment had been added. But unlike Schapira, who is the Senate minority leader, other Democrats had read the bill.
Sen. Linda Lopez cast her “no” vote before Schapira voted “yes.” Then, less than 30 seconds later, Lopez stood on the floor and implied that members like Schapira were voting the wrong way because they weren’t paying attention. “Members, in case you weren’t looking,” she said, “the free conference committee amendment on this bill added the empowerment scholarship accounts expansion.” [See Senate video beginning at 13:45]
After Lopez’s remarks, several Democrats switched their votes. Schapira did not.
Despite the real consequences of his vote for Arizona schools, Schapira tried to minimize his mistake, defensively declaring that voters “don’t care about this stuff” and that any criticism of his mistaken vote is “ridiculous” and “silly.”
“Our next representative in Congress must be prepared take on much tougher opposition than we have in Arizona, and both David Schapira and Kyrsten Sinema aren’t up to the task,” said Cherny campaign manager Seth Scott. “They’ve repeatedly lost to the Tea Party on education, health care and immigration simply because they didn’t read the bills they were voting on.”