Capitol Views by Maginnis: Panel OKs merging LSUS with La. Tech
The major higher education bill of the session, to merge LSU Shreveport into Louisiana Tech, heads to the House floor after passing the Education Committee today. Pushed by civic and business leaders in Shreveport and backed by the Board of Regents and the University of Louisiana System, House Bill 964 was approved, 14-4, over the objections of LSU System leaders. Later today the House will debate the session's other big education bill, a constitutional amendment to strengthen the Board of Regents' budgetary powers over the other management boards. LSUS supporters promoted the merger as a way of saving higher education in the state's third largest metropolitan area by stemming the school's declining enrollment. "My entire life I have seen LSUS basically just subside," said Rep. Thomas Carmody, R-Shreveport. "Not only are we in that death spiral, but the coup de grâce is not far from coming." The bill's author, Rep. Jim Fannin, D-Jonesboro, called the measure "almost a local bill," stating, "People from north Louisiana have come and said this is what we want to do." Read more on the discussion of this bill today—as well as an unrelated vote by a committee to require drug tests for welfare recipients—in the full column here.
(John Maginnis will publish a daily update throughout the legislative session on Daily Report PM. The report is also available to LaPolitics Weekly subscribers on the Subscribers Only page at LaPolitics.com. Registration is available on the homepage.)
Louisiana Public Broadcasting is providing a daily video update featuring highlights of the session, which you can see beginning at 6 p.m. here.
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