Monday, 04 June 2012 03:53
Poll: Grading the Louisiana Legislative Session 2012
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louisiana capitol 2The Louisiana Legislature ends the 2012 regular session today. The session saw major reforms to education, the passage of a $25.6 billion budget, and the institution of the strongest legislative protection for Second Amendment Rights in the country.

The session was not without controversy, and it started early with the debate over a program that would allow public school students in failing schools to use state money to attend private schools. Proponents of the measure called the money awarded “scholarships” while opponents characterized it as a voucher system. The opposition mounted a vociferous defense against the bill, but it ultimately passed.  School is out as to whether the legislation will improve the education system in Louisiana which lags at the bottom. 

Another controversial bill was the gun rights bill that would give Louisiana the strongest protection for second amendment rights in the country. The bill would create a constitutional amendment that would require a higher burden of proof if gun rights were to be infringed. As a constitutional amendment, the measure must be voted on by the public. It passed both houses of the legislature and will appear on this November’s presidential ballot.

Finally, the legislature passed a $25.6 billion dollar budget late in the session after wrangling from both sides of the aisle. The dispute over how to fill projected gaps in the budget saw state Treasurer John Kennedy set at odds with Governor Bobby Jindal in an intraparty struggle with the governor eventually winning out. Kennedy sought to reduce the number of contracts awarded and further cut government jobs in an effort to reduce the budget shortfall. Eventually, though, the House adopted Senate changes by a 62-40 and sent the budget to the governor for final approval.

On the last day of the session, the House also approved $3.4 billion in public school funding. The bill will be used to help fund the newly created school choice program passed earlier in the session.

by Drew Walker

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