Following House committee approval of the bill to merge the University of New Orleans and Southern University at New Orleans, an expected showdown in the Senate Education Committee was postponed today. Sen. Conrad Appel, R-Metairie, author of the companion bill, says he wants to prepare amendments in response to testimony in the House committee, though he did not specify. Another reason for the delay could have been the absence from the Capitol of Sen. Julie Quinn, R-Metairie, who some observers believe may be the tiebreaker on the seven-member panel.
— The House merger bill, HB 537 by Speaker Jim Tucker, R-Algiers, makes a side trip to the Appropriations Committee on Monday before it comes up on the House floor as early as Wednesday. The governor and speaker have made this the most high-stakes bill of the session, next to the budget. Representatives predict a very close vote on the measure, which requires two-thirds approval, or 70 votes. One thing proponents won’t be able to count on is overwhelming public support. The Southern Media poll released this week showed respondents narrowly in support of the merger, 42% to 40%.
(John Maginnis will publish a daily update on the legislative session at 3 p.m., available to LaPolitics Weekly subscribers on the Subscribers Only page at LaPolitics.com. You can register your user name and password on the Lapolitics home page.)