Committee kills bill restricting Tulane legislative scholarships
Baton Rouge A Louisiana House Committee killed the last remaining effort to tweak and provide more transparency for the state Legislature's controversial Tulane University scholarship program Wednesday morning.
Committee members voted 6-1 against a proposal to impose modest restrictions on lawmakers' ability to send students to Tulane University for free. Rep. John Schroder,
"I think it's superfluous," said Rep. Tim Burns, R-Mandeville, in voting against the legislation.
State Sen. Dan Claitor, the bill 's sponsor, disagreed, saying the public is already skeptical of the Tulane scholarship program. "I think it is incredibly important that we are transparent."
Started over 130 years ago, the Legislature's Tulane scholarship program allows each state lawmaker to give out one full ride to the private, New Orleans-based university each year. The award is worth around $47,000, the current cost of a year of tuition at Tulane. Some lawmakers have gotten in trouble for awarding the scholarship to politically well-connected children.
Claitor's bill would have made small adjustments to the current scholarship program. The proposal would have prohibited the relatives of legislators and statewide elected officials from receiving the award.
Under Claitor's legislation, Tulane would also have had to publish the name of each recipient, his residence, his nominating legislator and the name of any of the recipient's relatives who are Louisiana elected officials. Currently, these provisions are not required.
Claitor initially offered much more stringent requirements, wanting to ban all Louisiana elected officials' children and other relatives from receiving the scholarship for example. But he weakened the limitations to make the bill more politically viable, particularly after the House of Representatives killed a similar proposal restricting Tulane scholarships.
Frustrated with the committee vote, Claitor sarcastically told the committee members as he left the room: "Thank you, and I look forward to helping you with your bills on the (Senate) side."
Copyright 2014, The Times-Picayune
From: Julia O'Donoghue, "Committee kills bill restricting Tulane legislative scholarships," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, May 22, 2014,