LITTLE ROCK — The Senate voted 28-5 Monday to approve a bill to loosen restriction on who can serve on the state panel that authorizes charter schools.

Senate Bill 304 by Sen. Jim Hendren, R-Sulphur Springs, would allow people who are not members of the state Department of Education’s staff to serve on the panel.

Hendren told senators the panel could benefit from other points of view.

Sen. Joyce Elliott, D-Little Rock, a former teacher, said she was concerned about the panel drifting away from its mission if people with no experience in education were allowed to serve on it.

The bill goes to the House.