Louisiana House Education Committee approves several school choice bills

The House Education Committee approved two measures designed to open up school choice opportunities for families.

 House Bill 98, sponsored by state Rep. Lance Harris, R-Alexandria, would create a Sunshine Scholarship Program to provide education savings accounts with a student’s per-pupil state funding parents can use to send their children to a school of their choice. 

The committee also unanimously approved HB 9, sponsored by Rep. Rhonda Butler, R-Acadia, to create an Education Scholarship Account Program for students with disabilities. The same bill was approved by the legislature last session, but was vetoed by Gov. John Bel Edwards because it “would potentially divert Minimum Foundation Program funds (state education funding) for students to attend non-public schools.” 

The same committee voted 7-5 to approve HB 466, sponsored by Rep. Dodie Horton, R-Haughton, to prohibit school discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity that are not included in state standards. HB 466 would also prohibit the use of pronouns that do not align with a student’s biological gender, unless requested by a parent in writing. HB 466 further prohibits the required use of those pronouns if it’s contrary to an employee’s religious or moral convictions.

HB 466 is now pending on the House floor, while HB 9 and HB 98 were referred to the House Appropriations Committee.

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