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Appeals court: Louisiana doesn't have to provide Justice Dept. with data on vouchers


NEW ORLEANS — A federal appeals court says the Justice Department cannot require Louisiana to provide periodic reports on enrollment and racial information on students participating in the state's private school tuition voucher program.

U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle ordered the reports in April of 2014. He ruled that they are needed to make sure Louisiana complies with a 1975 desegregation order about state money going to private schools.

State officials have said the ruling won't impede the program and didn't appeal the order. But some voucher families argued that the ruling resulted from a Justice Department effort to "stifle" the voucher program.

In a 2-1 ruling on Tuesday, the 5th Circuit said Lemelle's order exceeded his jurisdiction in the case. The Justice Department has not yet said whether it will appeal.

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