Wednesday, April 25, 2012
A controversial bill that critics say would have given privately run, publicly funded charter schools the right to discriminate against gay students is all but dead in the Legislature. The Senate voted 24-9 last week to shelve Senate Bill 217 by Sen. A.G. Crowe, a St. Tammany Parish Republican. Technically the “amended bill was read by title and returned to the Involuntary Calendar by a vote of 24 yeas and 9 nays,” which means it could still return to the Senate floor for debate, although political observers say it’s unlikely to return to the agenda. Crowe’s legislation, backed by the Louisiana Family Forum and the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops, attempted to prohibit state agencies from requiring third-party entities they contract with from having anti-discrimination policies that go beyond state contract law. The state of Louisiana’s contract law only enumerates race, religion, national ancestry, age, sex and disability as characteristics protected against discrimination. However, the state Department of Education’s charter application form also includes sexual orientation and several other characteristics as worthy of anti-discrimination protections.
A Rayne mother is facing four counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of four of her five children, ages 8 and younger, who died late Saturday night in a fire that consumed their mobile home. Tragic are the deaths. Galling are the accounts of neighbors who told area media that the children were left unattended on a routine basis and that on Saturday the “mom was at the club” — presumably a night club. According to media accounts, police were called to the mobile home on Friday, the night before the tragedy, because the kids were without adult supervision. The youngsters were returned to the custody of their mother on Saturday morning, hours before they were left unattended again.
There’s little dispute the “New Orleans Saints have produced countless exciting and magical moments for the city of New Orleans, the state of Louisiana, the Gulf Coast region, and the entire country,” as Metairie Republican state Rep. Cameron Henry’s House Concurrent Resolution 50 emphatically states, but Henry’s bid to get National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell to re-reconsider the arguably harsh punishment levied on the Saints in connection with Bounty-gate is pointless at best. Goodell has already heard and rejected an appeal of head coach Sean Payton’s 2012 season ban, along with the other repercussions handed down including a half-million dollar fine against the team. And with possible league and federal investigations into new allegations that GM Mickey Loomis electronically eavesdropped on opposing coaches’ headset communications in the Superdome, there’s even less chance Goodell will acquiesce. Make that no chance.
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