MARCH 19 - 23
Week Two – K-12 Education Reform Bills Pass the House
After another marathon day at the Capitol, the State House of Representatives passed the two major pieces of the K-12 Education Reform package, which the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce is supporting. Discussion on the education bills lasted, literally, ALL day and into the night Thursday. The House went into session Thursday morning at 9:00 a.m. and did not finish their business until after midnight in the wee hours of Friday morning.
House Bill 974 by House Education Committee Chairman Stephen Carter will enhance teacher pay for performance and add accountability measures for teachers and their salaries received 7 floor amendments after which the bill passed 64 to 40. Voting in favor of the bill (and in line with the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce’s position) were Northwest Louisiana House members: Richie Burford; Henry Burns; Thomas Carmody; Alan Seabaugh; and Jeff Thompson. Voting against the bill were: Roy Burrell; Jim Morris; Barbara Norton; Gene Reynolds and Patrick Williams.
House Bill 976 by Chairman Steve Carter also passed the House Thursday night. HB 976 provides student scholarships (vouchers) for students who attend failing schools graded “D” and “F” (as well as some “C” rated schools) to change to higher ranking schools and/or charter schools. 10 floor amendments were added to this bill including two by Northwest Louisiana legislators Alan Seabaugh and Jeff Thompson. This bill passed by a vote of 61 to 41. Voting in favor of the bill (as is the position of the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce) was: Richie Burford; Henry Burns; Thomas Carmody; Alan Seabaugh; Jeff Thompson and Patrick Williams. Voting against the bill were: Roy Burrell; Jim Morris; Barbara Norton and Gene Reynolds.
North Louisiana Legislators Discuss LSUS – Louisiana Tech Consolidation Legislation
Earlier in the week Dr. Phillip Rozeman, Northwest Louisiana members of the Board of Regents, LSUS Foundation members, Louisiana Tech President Dr. Dan Reneau and Dr. Ed Morrison of Purdue University traveled to the Capitol to meet with North Louisiana Legislators about the proposed legislation (HB 964 by House Appropriations Chairman Fannin and SB 527 by Senator Mike Walsworth) to consolidate/merge LSUS and Louisiana Tech University into a more comprehensive public university in Shreveport-Bossier as recommended in the Eva Klein & Associates Study. Legislators asked very direct questions that they were hearing from their constituents in Shreveport-Bossier, much of which was misinformation. The goal of the legislation is meet the needs of Shreveport-Bossier in providing one comprehensive public university that addresses the needs of the underserved and the business community in providing a well educated workforce in the areas of engineering, health care and in offering master’s and doctoral degree programs. The Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce fully supports the recommendations of the Eva Klein & Associates Study and the legislation filed in order to begin negotiations on a Consolidation Implementation Plan.
Chamber Board Adopts State Policy and Positions
The Board of Directors met this week (Wednesday, March 21st) and adopted a list of positions and policy that will guide the Chamber’s advocacy efforts throughout the 2012 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature. Chamber staff will be posting those positions on our website at www.shreveportchamber.org and on our grassroots website at www.shreveportmeansbusiness.com for viewing.