Johnson & Blanton hired to lobby on nine-lives voucher bill

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Florida’s school voucher movement has stepped on its own toes a few times in the past, but never as grossly as last week’s revelation that the Step Up for Students “waiting list” on which advocates banked their proposal doesn’t actually exist. 

This story came just as the controversial school choice measure was ramped up in the House. The measure’s big haul will be in the Senate, considering that the sponsor, Sen. Bill Galvano, withdrew the bill after considering new information that came to light. As in, he wasn’t so keen on tax dollars going to schools that have little if any accountability to standards. 

Senate President Don Gaetz has said that his chamber is “willing to listen” to revised House proposals as long as accountability and testing requirements are included. 

This cracked door with a sliver of light coming through provides enough hope for the school choice contingent, who are ramping up efforts to substantially expand voucher programs. 

Lobbying for John Kirtley’s American Federation for Children are four notable names: Travis Blanton, Jon Johnson, Denise Lasher, and Al Lawson, Jr. 

If successful in reviving a voucher bill in the Senate, this team will earn the “cat came back” award for 2014.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.