She knew she didn’t have the votes going into Tuesday’s Civil Law committee meeting, but Representative Karen St. Germain of Pierre Part still wanted proponents of her anti-discrimination bill to have their say.
“We’re here to do something for the public, and the public means everyone,” St. Germain told her fellow lawmakers. “This is a fairness bill.”
In the aftermath of union-filed lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of education reform measures, a bill to prohibit participation in state retirement by future employees of the teachers’ unions was narrowly defeated on the House floor Monday.
“They’re not public employees. They do not work for the state of Louisiana,” Representative Alan Seabaugh (R-Shreveport), the bill’s author, explained.
These students from Ruston and Central high schools aren’t just bellyaching about their school lunches, they’re testifying before Louisiana’s Senate Agriculture Committee. They’re hoping to advance a resolution they initiated.
A bill that would take students attending “C” rated public schools out of eligibility for the voucher program failed to get out of the House Education Committee Wednesday.
“Either ‘C’ schools are failing schools, or they’re not,” stated Amite Representative John Bel Edwards, explaining the proposed program change as simple logic. “This program was premised upon giving choices to parents whose kids were trapped in failing schools. A ‘C’ school is not a failing school. It’s just that simple.”
State Representative Joe Harrison of Houma wants the people to decide whether to elect the next state superintendent of education, or let the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education keep making that appointment. Harrison is the author of that constitutional amendment, now headed to the House floor.
Members of the House Transportation Committee put their stamp of approval on the Coastal Restoration Spending Plan for the upcoming fiscal year. Jerome Zeringue, director of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, says they’ll spend $725-million. Most of that money is oil-spill funds from BP.
As the sixth week of the twelve week session begins, the budget takes center stage on Monday and Tuesday.
“Our public comment days are April the 14th and April the 15th,” explains House Appropriations chairman Jim Fannin. And he says they will work into the evening both days, to ensure everyone can be heard.
Not every bill a legislator files is to make new law. Sometimes a bill is needed to repeal an old law. Such was the case Tuesday in the House Criminal Justice committee.
“No matter what you might think about the language, it is unconstitutional,” said Baton Rouge Representative Pat Smith, in reference to the state’s sodomy law, also known as “crime against nature”, and her bill to repeal it.