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Jindal Vetoes Bills on Public Education Funding, Equal Pay, Signs Abortion Measures
After the annual legislative session ends, the gov gets the final say on all bills via the veto. After pushing through his agenda on education and loweing government spending, Republican governor Bobby Jindal bookended the Baton Rouge rendezvous with vetos of a couple bills that were drawn up by Democrats. One measure was an effort to allow private donations to support public schools, while another would've created an Equal Pay Task Force to look at ways to close the state gender gap in wages.
HB 1106, which was authored by Katrina Jackson (D, Monroe), would have offered private donors who gave money to support failing public schools a tax rebate from the state. The money would have come from a pool of $10 million. The bill was clearly designed as a response to HB 969, which provides donors to nonprofits that provide scholarships for students to attend charter schools with a dollar-for-dollar tax rebate from state coffers.
In his veto letter, Jindal said he nixed the bill because it provides more public education funding that is not authorized by the state budget.
"K-12 education is fully funded at a level of $3.41 billion through the Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) in Fiscal Year 2013. House Bill No. 1106 provides for an additional $10 million outside of the MFP, but does not have a corresponding appropriation in House Bill No. 1," he wrote.
Funds from the MFP, which is the state's pool of money for public education, will be redirected to charter school students as part of the new voucher-based system established by Jindal and his legislative supporters.
On the wage front, SB 577 was designed to create an Equal Pay Task Force that would have made recommendations to help close what the bill's sponsor, Sen. Karen Carter-Peterson (D-New Orleans) called "one of the nation's largest gender pay gaps." Carter-Peterson, who is the chairwoman of the State Democratic Party, said women earn 67 percent of the wages men do in Louisiana.
Jindal said he vetoed the bill because it would take funds away from services for the disabled.
"Funding for SB 577 was not appropriated by the Louisiana Legislature," he wrote in a veto letter. "Therefore, this legislation would force the Louisiana Workforce Commission to take funds away from critical services for the disabled to fund the taskforce because the agency’s only available source of State funding is for the Louisiana Rehabilitative Services (LRS) program."
Carter-Peterson said the funding was modest by comparison to other state programs.
"The Governor complains that the State can't afford the very modest cost to study the issue of Pay Equity, yet he's been able to shovel millions from our State's coffers toward corporate-welfare boondoggles and sweetheart deals for consultants and political contributors," Carter-Peterson said in the statement. "The Governor's veto is just another example of his shamefully warped priorities and is an affront to the women of this State."
As he vetoed those bills, Jindal signed into law two new bills pertaning to abortion. SB 708 dictates that women wishing to get an abortion be given the option to hear a fetal heartbeat and view ultrasound images. SB 330 makes it a crime to perform an abortion without a medical license.
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