A phone conversation with the Senate President Pro Tem’s Chief of Staff, Steve Tippins
12:05 PM MARCH 9, 2022. I just got the promised call from Steve Tippins, Sen Butch Miller’s Chief of Staff who said he is pretty comfy with the unworkable and poorly researched language (his, apparently) they concocted on almost excluding illegal alien students from SB 601. He did not want to talk about the illegal alien parents who would be involved in handling state money and could easily have oversight on the spending rules. Tippens told me he was getting calls from members who don’t want to deal with the illegal immigration issue at all. For clarity, I asked him “you mean you are hearing from senate members who do not want to answer questions about excluding illegal aliens from Sen Miller’s “school choice” bill?” – “yes,” was his answer. It was very enlightening. But not surprising.
Tippins allowed that he would check with “lawyers here” to ask if they agreed with my recommended fix – which he judged far too involved even though he would not let me finish my short explanation of what needed to be done. I did not ask if he would be checking with the same lawyers who helped him create the unworkable “exclusion” wording in the bill now. I was assured that SB 601 is meant to become law and not a campaign ploy.
He told me he wanted any change on the illegal immigration topic in “school choice!” to be “as surgical as possible” – meaning he didn’t want to draw attention to that matter in SB 6o1. There is more.
While I have only been involved in drafting numerous pieces of legislation (many of those bills are now law) and immigration politics under the Gold Dome since 2005, this was the most incredibly arrogant conversation I have ever had with any staffer – or legislator. It was very educational. SMH