July 6 Legislative Update

The Louisiana Legislature adjourned at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 25, 2009. The Cowen Institute is pleased to share with you updates on all education related bills and resolutions and what is happening on the federal level.

This week’s update includes information on the following:
Timeline for Bills to Become Laws
Education Bills Signed by the Governor
Current Status of Bills and Resolutions
Federal Update

If you would like more information on specific bills, please contact Nash Molpus at nmolpus@tulane.edu.

Timeline for Bills to Become Laws

All bills adopted by the legislature will move to the governor’s desk for approval. In accordance with the Louisiana Constitution, the governor will have twenty days to veto all bills that reach his desk on June 16 or later. Bills that do not require the governor’s signature will become effective after the time allowed for his veto has passed. Resolutions are not subject to the governor’s veto.

For more information on the process by which a bill or resolution becomes adopted, effective, or vetoed, please
click here.

Acts Signed by the Governor

Listed below are summaries of education related bills that have been signed into law. Please click here for more information on all bills that have been signed into law.

The following bills have been signed by the governor:
Act No. 31 (HB 183; Hoffman) – This bill authorizes BESE to establish an appeals process for applicants denied teacher certification. Applicants would appeal to the Teacher Certification Appeals Council.

Act No. 34 (HB 393; LaFonta) – This bill provides for fees collected by the commissioner of insurance to be set at $250 for review of a continuing education provider application and at $25 for review of a continuing education program application.

Act No. 43 (HB 621; Hoffman) – This bill additionally requires BESE to implement certain policies relative to the certification of foreign associate teachers.

Act No. 78 (SB 120; Erdey) – This bill allows the Livingston Parish School Board to create new school districts that overlap the boundaries of existing school districts.

Act No. 123 (SB 146; Duplessis) – This bill requires BESE and local school boards to follow the charter school application review process set out by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers and to provide an independent evaluation of charter school proposals by a qualified third party. Additionally, it allows charter schools to give preference to siblings submitting applications to enroll and removes the prohibition of support and affiliation with religion or religious organizations.

Act No. 142 (HB 545; Ritchie) – This bill requires principals of public schools where a student was enrolled to release the student’s records to a public or nonpublic school (inside or outside Louisiana) where the student is enrolled or seeking enrollment. It requires records to contain information on suspension as well as expulsion.

Act No. 143 (HB 576; Johnson) – This bill authorizes the state superintendent of education, with BESE approval, to set certain rates and fees for the Cecil J. Picard Educational and Recreational Center in Bunkie, Louisiana.

Act No. 145 (HB 602; LeBas) – This bill allows public school students to carry and self-administer certain medications under certain conditions.

Act No. 206 (HB 389; Greene) – This bill deletes the termination date of the exemption for purchases and leases of educational materials and equipment used for classroom instruction by nonpublic schools.

Act No. 214 (HB 570; Hoffmann) – This bill requires that the governing authority at public elementary and secondary schools establish the policies, procedures, and practices concerning electronic communications by an employee at a school to a student at that school.

Act No. 223 (HB 741; Badon) – This bill provides relative to the hiring of employees by local public school boards and the disclosure of information of certain instances of sexual misconduct, abuse, and neglect relative thereto.

As of today, none of the education, school or student related bills have been vetoed. We will continue to update you as the governor signs bills into law throughout the month of July.

Current Status of Bills and Resolutions

* During the legislative session, the Cowen team provided a summary of the House and Senate resolutions related to education along with an update on “Top 20 Bills to Watch” and a summary of education, school and student related pre-filed bills filed in the legislative session. You can find the final copy of those documents here.

Federal Update

Secretary Duncan Continues Speeches on ARRA

On June 22, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan gave the third of four speeches focused on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and reform strategies for the states to the National Charter School Conference in Washington, D.C. The speech focused on charter school leaders’ role in the national effort to turn around low-performing schools. The Secretary’s goal is to turn around 5,000 low-performing schools. In order to do this, he urged charter schools to take over entire schools instead of using the incremental approach of starting one grade each year.

The Secretary noted that $5 billion would be available to states to turn around low-performing schools. This $5 billion would come from a combination of the $4.35 billion Race to the Top fund in the ARRA and appropriations in the FY 2009 and FY 2010 budgets. In keeping with his message on accountability, the Secretary emphasized this need in charter schools.

During a Question and Answer session following his speech, Duncan pointed out that the availability of facilities for charter schools and providing equal funding among public charter schools and traditional public schools were challenges that the Administration was focused on.

To read more from the Q&A session from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, please click here.

To read the press release from this speech, please click here.

To read a statement from Secretary Duncan on the speech, please click here.

On July 2, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan gave the fourth and final speech in his series on the ARRA to the National Education Association. This speech focused on the quality of the education workforce.

To read the press release from this speech, please click here.

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