DFER-LA: House Education Committee Republicans Abandon Commitment to Louisiana Students

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE            

  House Education Committee Republicans Abandon Commitment to Louisiana Students

House Bill 390 put on hold in committee

DFER-LA State Director applauds House Education Democrats for putting students above politics

BATON ROUGE, LA – Today, the House Education Committee deferred House Bill 390, authored by DFER champion Rep. Gary Carter (D-New Orleans), declining to pass the legislation to the full House for debate. It remains in committee after a 6-7 vote that failed to pass the bill to the floor, and a consecutive 9-4 vote to not involuntarily defer the bill, which would have killed the bill completely. DFER-Louisiana applauds the committee Democrats who voted to protect TOPS for students who need it most, including Rep. Joe Bouie, Rep. Jeff Hall, Rep. Walt Leger, Rep. Edward Price and Rep. Patricia Haynes Smith, as well as Rep. Chris Broadwater (R-Hammond).

“While we are disappointed to see HB 390 defeated in committee, DFER Louisiana remains encouraged by the ongoing commitment of Rep. Carter and his colleagues on the House Education Committee, including Representatives Bouie, Hall, Leger, Price and Smith, to Louisiana students,” said DFER-Louisiana State Director Eva Kemp. “There’s still a lot of work left to be done, though. DFER Louisiana will continue to monitor and engage around bills that impact students of all ages to ensure their needs are put first and above adult politics.”

“I appreciate today’s conversation with House Education Committee members and I’m grateful for the time and thoughtful questions around funding the TOPS program,” said Representative Gary Carter. “But we have more work to do to make sure we realize that investing in education is the path out of poverty. Moreover, we have to make sure that we give every educational opportunity those students who need it most.”

In the event TOPS cannot be fully funded, HB 390 would have protected full awards for students from low- and moderate-income homes as well as Louisiana’s highest achievers. This legislation incorporates policy proposals championed by the Louisiana College Access Coalition, of which DFER-Louisiana is a member.

“Make no mistake, we’ll be back next year to advocate for commonsense policies that will expand access to high-quality, post-secondary options for all students across our state,” said Kemp. “Each student deserves a fair shot at a college degree without having to wait with baited breath to determine whether or not they can afford a seat.”

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Contact: Leslie Leavoy, leslie@dfer.org.