State Representative Dodie Horton (Dist. 9) is feeling a bit more relaxed going into the session since it’s not a fiscal session. She’s turned her attention to the next task at hand — presenting her legislation and honorably representing her constituents.
“The special session is over and behind us. It’s time to move forward,” she said. “My hope is that we can come together and go to work representing our districts. I’m hoping that we can treat each other civilly and with respect while we’re doing our job.”
Horton said her number one priority this session is House Bill 110. As it stands now, the Department of Children and Family Services has sole authority over the placement of children in their custody.
House Bill 110, if passed, would remove that provision and require a judicial hearing to determine the placement of a child under the Department of Children and Family Services and would base placement on the best interest of the child.
“What this bill seeks to do is to give the District Judge equal say in the placement of a foster child,” Horton explained. “I don’t think it’s good for the state to have sole power to place a child. I’m tired of us always saying we want to do what’s best for the child when, really, that doesn’t even factor in. This bill is an attempt to change that and truly make it about what’s best for the child.”
Another bill Horton has authored is House Bill 523, which she wrote on behalf of school bus operators.
“All of the support personnel for the school board is able to obtain tenure, except school bus operators,” Horton explained. “In the United States, no bus driver is able to achieve tenure. If Louisiana allows all other personnel the ability to achieve tenure, I believe school bus drivers should too.”
House Bill 523 would provide school bus operators who receives the highest possible rating on evaluations for five out of six years shall be granted tenure.
“That’s a big deal,” Horton said. “Some school districts contract their drivers so I don’t know if this will turn into a Bossier Parish bill or if we’ll just work it out as we go.”
By Amanda Simmons