May 1 Legislative Update

Welcome to the first week of the 2009 Regular Legislative Session of the Louisiana Legislature. This week you will find information on the Senate and House Education Committees, including a recap of the bills that came up this week and information on what is scheduled for next week’s meetings.

House Education Committee Update
House Committee on House & Governmental Affairs
Joint Committee on Education and Joint Committee on Health & Welfare

On April 27, 2009, the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) held a special meeting at 9:00 a.m. After taking time to honor the life and work of Lloyd L. Lindsey, Jr., Superintendent of West Feliciana Parish School System, the board reviewed all education related bills filed in the House and Senate. BESE heard recommendations on each bill by the Louisiana Department of Education and voted whether to support each bill.

* 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.

If you would like more information on specific bills, please contact Nash Molpus at

House Committee on Education

On April 29, the House Committee on Education met at 9:00 a.m. to consider three bills. The following two were passed out of the committee with minor amendments:

HB 183 (Frank Hoffman) – This bill authorizes BESE to establish an appeals process for applicants denied teacher certification. Applicants would appeal to the Teacher Certification Appeals Council.

HB 621 (Frank Hoffman) – This bill additionally requires BESE to implement certain policies relative to the certification of foreign associate teachers.

Additionally, the following bill was deferred by the committee:

HB 461 (Elton Aubert) – This bill requires the dissemination of information concerning consumer credit cards to undergraduate students be restricted by the public postsecondary school. It provides an exception for information concerning consumer credit cards provided to an undergraduate student when such information is a component of the student’s course of study.

Next week the House Education Committee will meet on Wednesday, May 6.

House Committee on House & Governmental Affairs

On April 29, the House Committee on House and Governmental Affairs met at 8:30 a.m. to consider twelve bills. The committee considered the following bills from Steve Carter’s package of four bills related to school board reforms:

HB 371 (Steve Carter) – This bill removes exceptions to nepotism provisions relative to the employment or promotion of the family member of a superintendent who is employed by the school board.

HB 664 (Steve Carter) – This bill provides term limits for members of city, parish, and other local public school boards.

HB 371 was voluntarily deferred by Representative Carter, after a round of questioning from the Committee members and a determination that adjustments to the legislation were necessary. The author and representatives from Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL) and Louisiana Association of Business Industry (LABI) answered questions about the bill and noted that HB 371 would have no effect unless HB 851 was also passed. HB 851 is assigned to the House Committee on Education and shifts the hiring authority of the district to the Superintendent, along with other adjustments in the law aimed at reducing board interference with certain personnel decisions.

HB 664 failed to pass out of the committee with a 6-11 vote. The fourth bill in the package (HB 808) is also assigned to the House Committee on Education.

Joint Committee on Education and Joint Committee on Health & Welfare

On April 29, the Harvard University Center on the Developing Child and Kaiser-Francis Oil Company presented to a Joint Session of the House and Senate Education and Health & Welfare Committees at 1:00 p.m. Dr. Jack Shonkoff of the Center on the Developing Child gave a brief PowerPoint presentation entitled “The Science of Early Childhood Development and the Foundations of Prosperity”. The presentation focused on five statistics that help explain why healthy development of children provides a strong foundation for healthy and competent adulthood, responsible citizenship, economic productivity, strong communities, and a sustainable society. Additionally, George Kaiser, President and CEO of the Kaiser-Francis Oil Company, spoke about his involvement with early childhood development and early childhood education centers across the country that are utilizing the research of the Center on the Developing Child.

To view the presentation by Dr. Jack Shonkoff, please click here.

The Senate Education Committee did not have a regular meeting scheduled for this week but will meet on Thursday, May 7 of next week.

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