NOW TO TENNESSEE’S HIGHLY DEBATED EDUCATION SAVINGS ACCOUNTS… OTHERWISE KNOWN AS SCHOOL VOUCHERS. THE FEDS ARE LOOKING INTO FAVORS IN EXCHANGE FOR VOTES THAT LAWMAKERS SUPPOSEDLY TOOK TO HELP PASS THE BILL EARLIER THIS YEAR. TONIGHT LOCAL 24 POLITICAL ANALYST OTIS SURFACE – OVER WHETHER IMPROPER ACTIONS WERE TAKEN TO GET A CONTROVERSIAL SCHOOL VOUCHER BILL THROUGH THE TENNESSEE LEGISLATURE THIS YEAR. FEDERAL INVESTIGATORS ARE ALREADY LOOKING TO ALLEGATIONS THAT SOME LAWMAKERS WERE OFFERED INCENTIVES FOR THEIR VOTE ON THE EDUCATION SAVINGS ACCOUNT PLAN. THE BILL WAS A TOP PRIORITY OF GOVERNOR BILL LEE. BUT IT WAS FORMER SPEAKER GLEN CASADA WHO GOT THE LEGISLATION PASSED IN THE STATE HOUSE. HE DID IT BY KEEPING THE VOTING OPEN AFTER A 49-49 TIE – SO HE COULD CONVINCE ONE HOUSE MEMBER TO SWITCH HIS VOTE. THE TACTIC WORKED AND THE BILL PASSED 50 TO 48. AS THE FEDERAL INQUIRY CONTINUES, DEMOCRATS ARE KEEPING UP THE PRESSURE FOR A WIDE RANGING INVESTIGATION OF CASADA – THAT INVOLVES QUESTIONABLE CAMPAIGN SPENDING AND IMPROPER BEHAVIOR IN THE FORMER SPEAKER’S OFFICE – IN ADDITION TO SHENANIGANS AROUND THE VOUCHER BILL. GOVERNOR LEE ALSO FACED QUESTIONS THIS WEEK – AFTER HE GAVE SHELBY COUNTY LAWMAKERS MARK WHITE AND TOM LEATHERWOOD A RIDE ON THE STATE PLANE – TO ATTEND A REPUBLICAN FUNDRAISER LAST WEEK IN MEMPHIS. BOTH WHITE AND LEATHERWOOD VOTED FOR THE VOUCHER PLAN. OF COURSE, THERE IS NO INDICATION OF ANYTHING NEFARIOUS WITH THE PLANE RIDE. BUT COME JANUARY, THE LEGISLATURE NEEDS TO REVISIT THE VOUCHER BILL. AND EVEN CONSIDER A REPEAL. AT THE VERY LEAST, LAWMAKERS SHOULD DETERMINE, ONCE AND FOR ALL, IF ANY RULES – OR PERHAPS LAWS – WERE BROKEN. AND THAT’S MY POINT OF VIEW. I’M OTIS SANFORD, FOR LOCAL 24 NEWS.