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Jun 4, 2012 8:08 PM by Jenise Fernandez

Legislative Session Comes to an End

Legislative session wrapping up today, ending three months of disputes over budgets, retirement, and education. Governor Jindal lost on his push to change the state's pension plans, instead a new retirement plan will be on the table for those hired in 2013 and beyond.The governor, however, did win support on his massive revamp of the state's education system. This session also highlighted a division between the governor and some house republicans.

One of the more controversial issues this session, giving $3.4 billion to private schools to fund school vouchers. That money usually goes to public schools. President of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers Steve Monaghan questions the constitutionality of using state dollars to fund vouchers for students to transfer to private schools.

"Teachers are concerned and I think school boards will challenge this in court," said Monaghan.

The house voted 51-49 after the Speaker of the House ruled the usual majority vote of the house, 53 members, wasn't needed to pass this time.

"There was 49 votes against this and that speaks of the trouble nature of this proposition," said Monaghan.

Monaghan says this could mean Lafayette Parish getting cut $5 million from funding and there could be cuts to school districts across the state, something that has some lawmakers concerned.

"Unfortunately, we won't be able to get those things we would want for our schools. It compromises our public education system," said Vincent Pierre, District 44 (D).

But other lawmakers believe this goes hand-in-hand with Governor Jindal's education package and this was needed in order to create reform.

"You want to be consistent and this was important to the governor so I thought it was a vote that needed to be made," said Rep. Joel Robicheaux, District 45 (R).

"This is not over. The fuel will be fought in the courtroom," added Monaghan.



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