Thursday, May 1, 2014

Update on HB 703

Great news! House bill 703 was approved by the House of Representatives on Wednesday. The bill will now go over to the Senate where it will be scheduled for a hearing by the Senate Education Committee. HB 703 prevents BESE from approving new charter schools in school districts rated "C" or above over the objections of local school boards. Supporters of 703 believe that educational decisions should be made at the local level, not by a state board dominated by privatization interests.

The Senate Education Committee is expected to be a challenging test for continued approval of HB 703 in the remaining steps of the legislative process. Below is a list of the Senate Education Committee members and their contact information, so that supporters of public education can contact them and ask them to support HB 703.

Senator Conrad Appel, email:,
District office phone: 866-946-3133
Capitol Phone 225-342-2040
Legislative Assistant: Patsy Green

Senator Eric LaFleur, email:
District office phone: 337-363-5019
Capitol Phone: 225-342-2040
Legislative assistant: Deborah Lawson

Senator Dan Claitor, email:
District office phone: 225-765-0206
Capitol phone: 225-342-2040
Legislative assistant: Sharon Hattier

Senator Jack Donahue, email:
District office phone: 985-727-7949
Capitol phone: 225-342-2040
Legislative assistant: Michelle Pichon

Senator Elbert Guillory, email:
District office phone: 337-943-2457
Capitol phone: 225-342-2040
Legislative assistant: Tammy Babineaux

Senator Mike Walsworth, email:
District office phone: 318-340-6453
Capitol phone: 225-342-2040
Legislative assistant: Angela Robert

Senator Mack “Bodi” White, email:
District office phone: 225-272-1324
Capitol phone: 225-342-2040
Legislative assistant: Stacie Butler

I want to thank and complement all the educators and citizens who asked their House members to vote "yes" for 703. The bill would not have passed without your help.

Anti Dues Deduction Bills Stopped in Committee

The anti payroll deduction bill HB 451 by Seabaugh was stopped in the Labor and Industrial Relations committee on Wednesday because of  an 8 to 8 tie vote. The bill was then involuntarily deferred. There are two other anti-payroll deduction bills that could still be brought up in committee, so educators cannot yet breathe easy that their payroll deductions for Association or Union dues are safe.

I will keep my readers posted if there is any effort to revive this issue. The unfairness of the legislation was made clear in that the Seabaugh bill did not attempt to ban payroll dues deductions for police or firemen. This became strictly an attack on teachers.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Attempts by Big Business to Ban Payroll Dues Deduction

LABI (The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry) was not satisfied with promoting the raiding of our public MFP funds by charter schools and voucher schools; big business was not satisfied with stripping most teachers of due process rights and rating teachers using a seriously flawed VAM system; LABI was not quite satisfied with stripping teachers of all job seniority rights; and it was not enough to exempt teachers in charter schools from professional training, subsistituting minimal training in test prep. LABI was especially incensed that the teacher professional organizations/unions had the nerve to successfully challenge the many unconstitutional provisions in Act 1 and Act 2 and the denial of teacher due process.

LABI felt that the best way to punish and weaken teachers and their unions was by removing each teacher's right to have their association or union dues paid using the payroll deduction system. So this Wednesday, April 30, several bills will be debated in the House Labor and Industrial Relations Committee that would prohibit payroll deduction for teacher union dues.

Here is a report from chief LAE chief lobbist, Shane Riddle, about this latest attack on the teaching profession. This report is on HB 172, 451, and 1059:

"These bills would take away your right to have your professional association membership fees deducted from your paycheck and take away your right to decide who represents your voice as a professional.

All four bills directly attack and attempt to minimize the collective voice of groups that represent not only educators, but also firefighters, police officers, state workers and more.

Currently, right to work laws protect an employee’s right to choose how they spend their paycheck and a right to join an organization or association of their choosing. These bills will take that right away.

These bills are designed to silence the voices of educators and minimize the effectiveness and reach of organizations like the LAE. We are asking our members and leaders to stand with us next Wednesday, April 30th to oppose these bills in the House Labor and Industrial Relations Committee. The committee meeting will begin around 9:00 a.m.

Last year, in the 2013 legislative session, lawmakers heard our voices loud and clear and killed this same legislation to silence the voices of educators and other public employees. This year we can make the same huge impact on the committee’s decision to vote against such blatant attacks on educators.

Thank you for your continued efforts in standing up for children and public education." 
A similar appeal is being made by Steve Monaghan of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers.
If you want to make the maximum effort to defeat this legislation, please send an email or make a phone call to any or all of the following key members of the Labor Committee requesting that they vote "no" on HB 172, 451, and 1059:

Chris Broadwater from Hammond, email:

Micky Guillory from Eunice, email:

Dee Richard from Thibodeaux, email:

Clay Schexnayder from Gonzales, email: