Capitol Views by Maginnis: Bill would empower Regents
The House will debate another plan to change the governance of higher education, with committee approval of a proposed constitutional amendment to strengthen the budgeting power of the Board of Regents. It comes as a recommendation from a higher education governance commission formed last year by the Legislature. Rep. Thomas Carmody, R-Shreveport, explained that though Regents develops a funding formula for colleges, the various management boards have the power under the constitution to disburse funds. At times, they have departed from the formula to move money around their campuses, a situation that Carmody called "chaotic." House Bill 396 was amended to allow the boards to depart from the funding formula by 5%. LSU System President John Lombardi and University of Louisiana System President Randy Moffett argued that the bill tries to fix a problem that does not exist. Instead, Lombardi said, "This clearly heightens the power and authority of Regents." Rep. John Schroder, R-Covington, favored having the issue debated by the full House, though he was not sure it was the solution. "This is the most frustrating issue I've had to deal with in five years," he said, comparing the campuses to children constantly fighting. The bill faces higher hurdles in winning two-thirds majorities before it would go to the people. Meanwhile, a bill that would have required sex education in public schools was also narrowly defeated today, and you can read more about it 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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