BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — A proposal that seeks to place armed guards at public schools received House backing Monday in a 65-25 vote.
As headed to the Senate, the measure (House Bill 368) by Rep. Barbara Norton, D-Shreveport, would require local school boards to "make every effort" to hire school resource officers from local law enforcement agencies to be on hand for each school day.
If hired, those school resource officers would be required to have a gun with them on campus.
The bill moves to the Senate for debate.
Local school districts could choose their own textbooks rather than having to follow a state-approved list in order to use state dollars to pay for them, under a bill that received approval from the House in a 73-22 vote.
The measure (House Bill 116) by Rep. Frank Hoffmann, R-West Monroe, would establish that the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education can't require local school districts to purchase specific textbooks or instructional materials.
Critics questioned whether the change would allow substandard teaching — or be a back-door attempt to introduce creationism in science classes.
"I guarantee you that's not my purpose in bringing this bill," Hoffmann said.
Hoffmann said a state-recommended textbook list still will be developed, and he said he expects 98 percent of books to be taken from that list. He said laws require schools to teach to state content standards, no matter what textbooks they use.
The proposal heads next to the Senate for debate. A similar proposal by Hoffmann failed to win legislative support two years ago.
In other legislative action:
—A proposal to allow assessors to boost their salaries by up to 4 percent each year for four straight years received the backing Monday of the Senate Finance Committee. The dollars would come from local funds, under the bill (Senate Bill 63) by Sen. Fred Mills, R-Breaux Bridge. The measure, approved without objection, heads next to the Senate for debate.
—The House voted 92-0 for a proposal (House Bill 278) by Rep. Valarie Hodges, R-Denham Springs, that would add coercion of a female child to undergo an abortion as a defined form of child abuse under the law. The bill moves to the Senate for consideration.
—The Senate unanimously agreed to designate the Smokin' Oldies Cook-Off in West Baton Rouge Parish as an official Louisiana state barbeque championship. The event is held annually in September, according to the legislation (Senate Concurrent Resolution 10) by Sen. Rick Ward, D-Port Allen. It moves to the House for discussion.
"You've got to have a map. You've got to be Daniel Boone."
--Treasurer John Kennedy, criticizing the navigation through an online system that tracks state contracts.
Louisiana Legislature: http://www.legis.la.gov