Due to your hundreds of contacts to Senate Finance Committee members, two bills supported by Stand for Children Louisiana were reported favorably this week! SB 10, by Sen. Cleo Fields reported favorably and would make kindergarten mandatory and change the current age to begin school from seven to five years old. Stand believes that early learning is critical to obtain a proper foundation for reading as well as other academic subjects and social emotional growth. The bill allows kindergarten to be taught via home school if a family chooses. SB 10 now heads to the full Senate for consideration.
The other bill that reported favorably this week was SB 216 by Sen. Robert Mills, which provides that teachers who teach K-3 reading receive professional development in the science of reading. Stand believes our teachers deserve access to the latest data and professional development so they can be their very best for our students. SB 216 now heads to the full Senate for consideration.
These are powerful bills that attack the unacceptably low literacy rate which plagues Louisiana. Please continue contacting legislators in support of these bills as both still need to go through two House committees and the House floor.
On Tuesday, the House Appropriations Committee considered the “Clean Slate” bill, HB 604 by Rep. Ted James. This bill would align Louisiana with other states that allow for expungement of criminal records without cost after a certain period of time. We are pleased to share that HB 604 passed favorably out of committee and will next be heard by the full House.
Today, the House Education Committee heard SCR 18 by Sen. Cleo Fields, a resolution to study banning the use of corporal punishment in schools. We are pleased to share that it reported favorably out of the Committee and now heads to the full House for consideration. Unfortunately, legislation sponsored by Rep. Stephanie Hilferty, HB 324, which would have abolished corporal punishment, was defeated in the House by a very narrow margin earlier this month. SCR 18 will create a study commission which can make a recommendation to ban corporal punishment in the future and is a first step toward the eventual abolishment of corporal punishment in our schools.
Finally, two of Stand’s priority bills are on the calendar for a vote by the full House later this week. HB 216 by Rep. Royce Duplessis would eliminate fees and taxes in the juvenile justice system. This bill received wide support in the House Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice, including from the Office of Juvenile Justice. By eliminating the collection of fees and taxes by OJJ employees, they can instead focus on rehabilitation and restitution. Stand supports HB 216, as eliminating fees and taxes will put a major dent in the school to prison pipeline.
To tell your House member that you support HB 216, please click here: https://p2a.co/sgAfcuN
HB 421 by Rep. Julie Emerson is scheduled for consideration by the full House today, May 12. This bill would allow local school districts and other local education agencies to establish small learning communities within public schools called Learning Pods. These schools could be created for specific purposes such as technical or skilled training, remedial classes, or foreign language immersion. They could be blended learning, meaning a combination of virtual and in-school instruction, fully virtual, or fully in-person. The concept allows for tremendous innovation and we are excited to see where our educators can take this opportunity. To learn more about Learning Pods, please visit our recent blog that takes a deep dive into the proposed legislation.
To tell the House that you support HB 216, please click here: https://p2a.co/rip8wbz
This week marks the halfway point of the 2021 legislative session. We are pleased that so many student- and family-centered bills have progressed as they have. We will absolutely need your support to get many of these bills to the finish line!