- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 19, 2015

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Local public school districts would have more freedom to choose their textbooks under a proposal that received unanimous support Tuesday from the Louisiana House.

The bill (House Bill 287) by Rep. Gene Reynolds, D-Minden, would let local districts decide which books and materials should be used in classrooms.

The state education department would review instructional materials in English, math, science and social studies to decide whether they meet state educational standards. But local districts wouldn’t be bound by its approved list.

The education department would be required to post online the textbooks and instructional materials it reviews and to help with bulk purchasing to get deals.

A 96-0 House vote sent the proposal to the Senate for consideration.

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The Louisiana Senate has gone on the record as supporting the rights of Louisiana’s students to voluntarily gather for prayer.

With a 39-0 vote Tuesday, senators backed a resolution (Senate Concurrent Resolution 69) by Sen. Gerald Long, R-Winnfield, that he described as a “clear statement on the student’s right of expression.”

The resolution, which doesn’t have the force of law, says the Legislature supports voluntary prayer in public schools and the right to assemble for “religious expression.” It doesn’t give preference to any particular religion.

The measure heads next to the House for consideration.

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In other legislative action:

-The House voted 93-3 for a bill allowing - but not requiring - public schools to teach gun safety and accident protection to their students. The proposal (House Bill 446) by Rep. Blake Miguez, R-Erath, heads next to the Senate for consideration.

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Online:

Louisiana Legislature: www.legis.la.gov

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