New laws that deal with schools hit the books

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BATON ROUGE — Louisiana’s public school classrooms will be required to teach cursive writing to students starting with the new school year.
That mandate, approved by lawmakers in 2016 but delayed a year so schools could prepare, is among more than two dozen new laws that take effect Saturday with the start of July.

That also marks the beginning of Louisiana’s new budget year, so the most significant bills kicking in Saturday determine spending across agencies, programs and services.

The cursive writing legislation requires public schools, including charter schools, to introduce cursive writing instruction by third grade. Instruction will have to continue through 12th grade, under the measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Beth Mizell, of Franklinton.

Other laws taking effect are modest, reworking state retirement provisions and changing insurance licensing fees, for example.

Ban on smoking at K-12 schools expanded

Louisiana’s ban on smoking in elementary and secondary school buildings has been expanded to include a campus’ playgrounds, school buses and other school property.

Gov. John Bel Edwards has signed the expansion legislation by Republican Rep. Frank Hoffmann of West Monroe, a bill that won final passage in the recently-ended legislative session. The changes took effect immediately.

The rewritten law enacts a smoking ban on any place deemed “school property.”

That’s defined as the buildings, the playgrounds, the land and other facilities located on the property of an elementary or secondary school. The expansion also was written to include school buses or any school vehicle used for academic and extracurricular programs.

In addition, the smoking products in the ban were broadened to include e-cigarettes and other vaping products.

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