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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Louisiana Senate approved a bill Thursday that would bar public and charter schools from suspending or expelling elementary school students for violating school uniform rules.
The proposal (Senate Bill 54) sponsored by Sen. Sharon Weston Broome, D-Baton Rouge, was significantly scaled back from an earlier version.
The initial bill would have barred schools from expelling or suspending students in kindergarten through 3rd grade, unless their behavior posed "a threat to the safety or well-being" of others. That proposal was widely opposed by school districts and teachers, she said.
The revised measure only applies to violations of school uniform rules and encompasses students in preschool through fifth grade.
Broome said she hopes the bill, approved in a 23-4 vote, will start conversations about the plight of children with behavioral issues. She said once a student is marked as a troublemaker, that tag will adversely affect them throughout their schooling.
Ideally, Broome said she would like schools to provide additional services to help children with behavioral issues.
Her proposal heads next to the House for consideration.
An effort to let many of Louisiana's drivers get a state vehicle inspection every five years has stalled.
The Senate transportation committee voted 3-2 to shelve the House-approved measure by Rep. Richard Burford, R-Stonewall, after senators raised concerns about safety and questions about the impact on the inspection businesses.
"I think you need to spend a little more time on this one," said Committee Chairman Robert Adley, R-Benton.
Burford's bill (House Bill 564) would have lengthened the current inspection requirement from two years to five years for any vehicle that is seven years old or newer.
Burford has said 32 states don't require inspections at all. He's said newer car models alert drivers when something is wrong, lessening the need for frequent inspections.
Annual inspections would have still been required in parishes with auto emission problems that have been cited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The five-year inspection also would not have applied to commercial vehicles and student transportation vehicles like school buses.
Louisiana Legislature: www.legis.la.gov
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