Many bills that Stand supports are moving, primarily due to the thousands of contacts from educators, parents, and Stand friends who are contacting their legislators to express their opinions on particular legislation. It’s making a difference. You’re making a difference.
Last week, the House passed the “Clean Slate” bill, HB 604 by Rep. Ted James, by a vote of 93-1. This bill would align Louisiana with other states that allow for automatic expungement of criminal records after a certain period of time. The bill now moves to the Senate, where it is expected to be heard in the Senate Judiciary C Committee this week. We’ll soon send an email alert asking you to contact committee members and request their favorable vote on the bill. If you aren’t already subscribed to our emails, you can sign up here.
SB 10, by Sen. Cleo Fields, would make kindergarten mandatory and lower the current age one begins school from 7 to 5 years old. Stand believes that early learning is critical to obtain a proper foundation for reading and other subjects. The bill also allows kindergarten to be taught via home school if a family so chooses. SB 10 passed the Senate, was reported without action by the House Education Committee and was recommitted to the House Appropriations Committee. It will be heard Monday, May 24.
SB 216, by Sen. Robert Mills, will provide K-3 educators who teach reading with professional development in the science of reading. It, too, passed the full Senate and was reported favorably out of the House Education Committee. It is on the calendar for a House floor vote this week.
Another of Stand’s priority bills is HB 216 by Rep. Royce Duplessis, which would eliminate fees and taxes on juveniles in the juvenile justice system. By eliminating the collection of fees and taxes by Office of Juvenile Justice employees, staff can instead focus on rehabilitation and restitution. Eliminating fees and taxes from the juvenile justice system will also make a major dent in the School to Prison pipeline. The bill passed the full House by a vote of 91-0 and next will be heard in the Senate Judiciary B Committee, although a date has not yet been announced.
HB 421 by Rep. Julie Emerson passed the House by a vote of 98-0. 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 training, skilled training, or foreign language immersion. Learning Pods could offer blended learning, a combination of virtual and in-person instruction. The concept was widely used during distanced learning during the pandemic and allows for tremendous innovation. It will next be heard in the Senate Education Committee although a date has not yet been announced.
The session will adjourn on June 10, so the clock is ticking to make sure these and other student- and family-centered bills are passed through the entire process. You’re making a difference at the Capitol every day. We’ll keep working for wins for the people of our state.