State

Minimum wage increase fails

The Senate Finance Committee, buttressed by challenged warnings that any mandated increase would cost jobs, killed, 7-3, a bill that would have raised the state’s minimum wage from the federal minimum of $7.25 to $8 in 2018, and to $8.50 in 2019.
Washington, D.C. and 28 other states have a minimum wager higher than the federal minimum of $7.25. Only three have a lower employment rate than Louisiana, according to Louisiana Budget Project Director Jan Moller. States must at least match the federal minimum.

House Appropriations chairman Cameron Henry, R-Metairie, listens to testimony on Rep. Franklin Foil’s TOPS funding bill Tuesday, while Rep. John Berthelot, R-Gonzales, and Rep. Steve Pylant, R-Winnsboro, confer on a point. Foil chose to defer House Bill 91 to find a better alternative to fund the popular scholarship program. (Photo by Sarah Gamard\/ Manship School News Service)

Legislative wrapup

TOPS funding bill deferred
By Katie Gagliano
Manship School News Service
BATON ROUGE — A measure to ensure consistent funding for the TOPS scholarship program was voluntarily deferred in a House Appropriations Committee Tuesday over concerns about diverting monies from the state’s general fund, thus hurting other unnamed entities.

House decides schools rule on corporal punishment

Louisiana lawmakers in the House determined Monday that local schools, not the state, should decide whether to spank or subject students to other forms of physical punishment.
They rejected Monday 34-61 House Bill 497 by Rep. Barbara Norton, D-Shreveport, which would have prohibited corporal punishment in public elementary and secondary schools.
Currently, state law allows individual school boards to make the corporal punishment decision for their schools.

Sen. Ronnie Johns, R-Lake Charles, pushed his Senate Bill 144 Tuesday with major amendments through the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday. The bill originally sought to restrict the age of dancers in Louisiana clubs to 21 and up, but amended version reverts back to require a minimum age of 18. (Photo by Sarah Gamard/ Manship School News Service)

Stripper age minimum stays 18

Sen. Ronnie Johns, R-Lake Charles, moved his Senate Bill 144, through the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday aims to protect young women from human trafficking by prohibiting strippers under the age of 18, three years younger than what he wanted.
The tweaks, authored by Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, amended the original bill’s most significant premise: raising the minimum age of dancers at strip clubs and similar venues to 21. Morrell’s amendment, which was supported by every committee member but Johns, took the age back to the original 18-and-up.

Pro-Confederate monument demonstrator Amanda Jennings of West Monroe, forefront, was part of a demonstration Thursday at the Louisiana Statehouse in support of bills that would preserve monuments of Confederate leaders. She charged she was physically attacked by “paid agitators” April 30 when fighting to preserve the Jefferson Davis monument in New Orleans. (Photo by Sarah Gamard/Manship School News Service)

Demonstrators arrive to support monument bills

Demonstrators waved Confederate flags outside the Louisiana State Capitol Thursday in protest of New Orleans’ contentious decision to replace four monuments in his city representing Confederate leaders and in support of three bills before the Legislature that aim to protect those monuments.
Unfortunately for the demonstrators, the Senate had adjourned Wednesday night for the weekend and the House was tied up the entire day in debate over the bill that funds the state’s operation for the next fiscal year.

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