Free “Inequality for All” screening today at 5 p.m.
LBP invites you to attend a free screening of the film “Inequality for All” today at the Baton Rouge Kress Gallery (447 3rd St., Baton Rouge). The film (you can view the trailer here) is narrated by former Labor Secretary Robert Reich and discusses how the massive consolidation of wealth by a few has a devastating impact on our economy and on the foundation of American democracy itself. With the 2014 legislative session fast approaching, this is a unique opportunity to discuss solutions to one of the most pressing issues of our time. Light refreshments will be served at 5 p.m., and the film will start promptly at 5:30 p.m., followed by a post-screening Q&A. Seating is limited and available on a first come first serve basis. Please RSVP here so we can provide an adequate amount of refreshments. Note that an RSVP does not ensure a seat at the event.
Jindal open to tweaking teacher tenure law
Gov. Bobby Jindal and the Louisiana Federation of Teachers are discussing possible changes to a controversial law that makes it more difficult for teachers to earn tenure. The law, known as Act 1, says that teachers who are fired can request a review hearing before three individuals — one chosen by the school superintendent, one chosen by the school principal, and one chosen by the teacher. The LFT says the law violates teachers’ due process rights under both the U.S. and state constitutions. The administration did not release details about what they are willing to change. The Legislature would consider any tweaks to Act 1 in the upcoming legislative session that begins March 10.
State Civil Service Commission agrees to Bogalusa hospital layoffs
More than 500 state workers will be affected after the state Civil Service Commission agreed Wednesday to the privatization of LSU’s Bogalusa Medical Center. The commission voted 6-1 to lay off roughly 554 employees in a plan that is projected to save the state $10 million annually. Lanette Buie, the deputy CEO of LSU’s hospitals division, says 99 percent of the terminated employees have accepted a position with the new hospital, but did not say how their new salaries, benefits and retirement plans compared to their previous pay packages. Despite the hospital partnerships’ fiscal uncertainties, the Bogalusa Medical Center follows seven other LSU hospitals into privatization.
Lawmakers miss deadline to file recommendations for campaign spending
A group of lawmakers tasked with recommending stricter campaign spending rules missed a Feb. 1 deadline to present their findings. Several members of the group say the deadline was not legally binding and they will finalize their recommendations before the 2014 session begins on March 10. According to Nola.com, most of the lawmakers serving on the committee spent a significant portion of their campaign funds on events, food and vehicle costs. These expenditures have led many to believe that true reform is unlikely.
Most public schools meet minimum technology standard
Education officials were pleased to announce Wednesday that three of four public school students attend schools that meet the state’s minimum technology standard, which is one computer for every seven students. According to state Superintendent of Education John White, 58 school districts have basic Internet capacity and 66 have enough network infrastructure to handle student tests. Both totals are up from 36 in 2012. One major motivator for bringing schools up to the technology standard is the fact that more students will take online tests in the future due to Louisiana’s participation in the Common Core state standards. The move is also expected to generate public education savings in the long-run, as schools will no longer have to buy as many textbooks.