Voucher bill passes senate, leaves out Knoxville and Chattanooga

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A voucher-like proposal has split the Tennessee House and Senate as lawmakers wrestle over the details in this year's top legislative issue.

The Senate on Thursday advanced legislation limiting Gov. Bill Lee's voucher program to just the metro Nashville area and Shelby County, which includes Memphis. Under Lee's proposal, parents of students in certain low-performing school districts could receive up to $7,300 in state funds to spend on private school tuition and other approved expenses, but they would need to meet certain income requirements.

The Senate's version conflicts with what House members passed earlier this week, which includes immigration status verification and applies to the state's top four most populated counties.

That means the two chambers will form a joint panel known as a "conference committee" to find a solution.