Legislature Opening Louisiana

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards acknowledges the House and Senate leadership after addressing the legislature for the opening of the 2020 general legislative session in Baton Rouge, La., Monday, March 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana's public colleges would continue to have the authority to set their own fee rates, if state senators agree to a measure that won support Friday from House lawmakers.

The proposal by Appropriations Chairman Jerome "Zee" Zeringue, a Republican from Houma, would give the state's four college system governing boards the ability to raise and lower fees for their campuses, within certain parameters.

The governing boards for the Louisiana State University, Southern University, University of Louisiana and Louisiana Community and Technical College systems currently have that authority, but it is expiring. Zeringue's bill would extend the permission for another three years, through mid-2023.

Louisiana is one of only a few states that require public colleges to get legislative approval for tuition increases and the only state in the nation that requires a two-thirds legislative vote, Zeringue said. That wouldn't change since Zeringue's bill only addresses the fees outside of tuition.

The House approved Zeringue's proposal in a 95-0 vote, sending it to the Senate.

The measure also would give the University of Louisiana, Southern University and Louisiana Community and Technical College systems greater flexibility in purchasing similar to what LSU already has — and could allow them to exit the state's self-insurance program.

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House Bill 689: www.legis.la.gov

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