Suspect arrested in Ole Miss student’s death

FBI reportedly investigating Tennessee’s voucher vote

House Speaker Glen Casada, right, speaks to reporters on the House floor in Nashville, Tenn. on Tuesday, April 23, 2019. An already contentious voucher-like proposal took a dramatic turn in Tennessee on Tuesday as Republican leaders refused to acknowledge a vote spiking the proposal on the House floor and Senate leaders advocated for a drastically different version. (AP Photo/Kimberlee Kruesi)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Federal investigators have reportedly launched an inquiry following the controversial voucher vote last month, CBS affiliate WTVF in Nashville reported.

According to the news agency, agents have begun interviewing lawmakers specifically trying to determine if any improper incentives were offered in order to pass Governor Bill Lee’s Education Savings Account plan.

The legislation narrowly passed the state House last month. It was initially deadlocked 49 to 49 votes and House Speaker Glen Casada kept the vote open for 40 minutes until Knoxville Rep. Jason Zachary switched his vote.

As passed, the legislation only applies to schools in Shelby County, Davidson County and the Achievement School District. Zachary later said Casada got his vote by agreeing to keep Knox County exempt from the bill.

Rep. David Hawk told WTVF Casada’s former Chief of Staff Cade Cothren came to him the morning of the vote asking what he wanted, stating “the Speaker and I need your vote on the voucher bill.”

“I told Cade, ‘You and the Speaker have nothing that I want,'” Hawk said. “I don’t play games like that.”

“The suggestion was that this could favorably affect revenue expectations in my district eventually,” added Rep. Bob Ramsey of Maryville.

Casada is already facing criticism after he admitted to lying about racist and vulgar text messages with his former chief of staff earlier this week. Both parties have called for him to step down.

On Thursday, Governor Lee shared his thoughts on how he would handle the situation.

“If an employee in my administration acted in away that wasn’t consistent with that then they wouldn’t be in my administration.”

Lee said the FBI has not contacted his office.

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