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School prayer, other local bills signed into law

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Several bills that will affect Webster Parish have been passed by the Louisiana legislature in recent weeks. Today we include a quick breakdown of a few of these upcoming laws.

Act no. 673 – School prayer

Signed into law by Governor Edwards June 1, Senator Ryan Gatti’s prayer bill would have originally allowed school officials to pray with students if universal parental permission was acquired, but the amended version simply allows them to respectfully bow their heads during student-led prayer.

Act no. 696 – Behavioral health services in schools

Signed into law by Governor Edwards May 30, Rep. Pierre’s bill prohibits public school systems from stopping behavioral health providers from providing their services to a student while at school if the parents have requested it. Several additions were made, such as requiring behavioral health providers to acquire liability insurance and stipulating that English and math instructional time may not be interrupted in this manner without agreement from the school. The Press-Herald’s online archives document the Webster Parish School Board’s opposition last year to allowing counselors and the like from coming into schools to perform their duties, and there are also articles detailing local counselors speaking out against the school board’s prohibition.

Act no. 67 – Deer importation

Signed into law by Governor Edwards May 10, former Rep. Gene Reynolds’s bill bans the importation of live cervid into Louisiana. This law will not apply to licenses issued from the Department of Agriculture.

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