Siblings and grandchildren would gain new admission preferences under a charter schools measure backed by Arizona lawmakers.

A Senate committee advanced the proposal endorsed by charter school leaders on Thursday.

Under state law, charter schools may give enrollment preferences to returning students, their siblings and the children of charter school employees.

The proposed measure would extend enrollment preferences to grandchildren and legal wards of charter school employees and to students who previously attended another charter school managed by the same organization.

Some parents say the measure is necessary to ensure their children will attend the same school.

Critics say the measure makes it harder for students who don't have a charter school connection to get admitted.

The House of Representatives unanimously passed the bill last week.