Stand for Children Louisiana staff are preparing our agenda for the upcoming legislative session that will convene at noon on April 12. This year is a 45-day fiscal session where the primary focus will be the state budget, particularly how to most effectively allocate the influx of federal dollars the state has received to recover from the effects of the COVID pandemic. There will also be proposals for tax reform, new taxes, and how to allocate the proceeds from recently approved sports betting legislation. The session will adjourn no later than 6 p.m. on June 10.
Stand remains fully committed to improving literacy rates for Louisiana students and closing learning gaps only made worse by COVID. And while we’re going into a fiscal session, each legislator may introduce five bills of a general nature. Many of the bills that have been pre-filed deal with education and criminal justice reform. Two education-related bills that have been pre-filed that we’ll be tracking are:
- HB 85 (Rep. McKnight) – Creates a new literacy program for certain students; and
- SB 10 (Sen. Fields) – Would make Kindergarten mandatory and require compulsory school attendance beginning at age 5.
Stand Louisiana’s legislative agenda has increasingly included bills that make significant changes to the state’s criminal justice system. Louisiana incarcerates 680 out of every 100,000 residents, while the national average is 419 out of 100,000, making our state the most “incarcerated” in the nation. Additionally, Louisiana is second in the nation in juvenile arrests.
For the state to achieve educational equity and economic opportunity for all, the school to prison pipeline must end. In this vein, Stand Louisiana and our partners are working on legislation that we’ll soon be asking you to help us support.
We’ll be providing weekly updates and occasional calls to action. Together, we make a difference. To sign up to receive the emails every Friday, click here.
Legislation may be viewed on the state legislative website at www.legis.la.gov.