The U.S. Supreme Court will allow Louisiana to use a congressional map that includes two Black-majority House districts for the upcoming fall elections. Wednesday’s ruling by the nation’s high court temporarily reinstates the political boundaries drawn by the Legislature in January. A federal appeals court panel overturned those boundaries earlier this month for being unconstitutional by focusing solely on race. While the move is a victory for Black voters and voting rights advocates, there’s no clarity on how long the new map will be used. The Louisiana Illuminator’s Piper Hutchinson reports

The Supreme Court’s order does not deal with the lower court’s findings, but rather allows the most recent map to stay in place at least through this year’s election. A similar situation happened in 2022 when the state was allowed to use congressional maps with a single majority-Black district approved in a special session that year even though a lower court ruled they violated the Voting Rights Act. That decision was allowed to stand, leading to the creation of new maps this year. 

CNN’s John Fritze and Fredreka Schouten explain the national impact of the Supreme Court’s decision:

At its most basic level, the proposed map would give Democrats a chance to add a second member to their delegation. But the fight also implicates deeper and more long-standing controversies that could reach beyond the Bayou State, including how the Supreme Court handles similar redistricting cases and how state mapmakers are supposed to consider race as they eke as much political advantage as they can from the boundaries of each district they draw.

The Republican-dominated Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee shelved three anti-union bills on Wednesday. The move came after more than 150 union members and activists, including Invest in Louisiana, protested outside of the Capitol against the harmful proposals. The Times Picayune | Baton Rouge Advocate’s James Finn reports on the rare win for workers at the Legislature:

“I understand that we may not have the votes in the building behind me,” said Matt Wood, the Louisiana AFL-CIO’s treasurer, to the large crowd gathered outside the Capitol before the hearing. “But I’ll be damned if we don’t have the voices out here to tell them how we feel.” … Union leaders responded that the bills were rife with legal issues. …  All three seemed to create unclear enforcement obligations, with prison time as a penalty for some violations. And the fiscal implications called for closer scrutiny from legislative fiscal staff, they said. 

Gov. Jeff Landry and his allies are ratcheting up pressure on state senators to create a TOPS-like entitlement program for families that send their children to private schools. The governor will take part in two town halls on Thursday promoting so-called “education savings accounts.” The push follows recent TV ads urging members of the upper chamber to support a program that would use public tax dollars to underwrite private school tuition. The Times Picayune | Baton Rouge Advocate’s Patrick Wall reports on the infighting between Republican lawmakers and ‘school choice’ advocates: 

On one side are state representatives and advocates, including Republican megadonor and Landry ally Eddie Rispone, who backed a House bill that would launch an ESA program in 2025. After the program phases in, all parents would be eligible for tuition grants of several thousand dollars per year, which could cost the state more than $500 million annually, according to one estimate. On the other side of the debate are members of the Senate who, wary of the plan’s potentially huge cost, introduced a heavily amended Senate bill that called for a report before committing to fund an ESA program.

The Louisiana Illuminator’s Greg LaRose explains that the ESA push is being propelled by conservative special interests groups.

What you might not know is that these events – and the language of the ESA bill itself – are the work of conservative kingmakers at the national and state level. As much as proponents of the legislation would have you believe this debate is between parents and politicians, the real battle is between deep-pocketed campaign donors and public education — one of many institutions the far right has repeatedly undermined. 

Louisiana does not adequately fund its public schools. The obvious solution would be to provide more funding, not to take away the inadequate resources public schools currently have to create a costly entitlement program for private schools. LaRose laments: 

[ESA proponents] leave out the roots of the problem, found in segregation and subsequent poor fiscal policy choices that have depleted the revenue base for property tax-dependent school systems. Instead, parental choice advocates rely on cultural weapons, such as a “Don’t Say Gay” proposal and transgender bathrooms, that have no tangible impact on students’ ability to learn or teachers’ ability to teach. Measures such as these actually take away parental choice, divide school communities and target marginalized children, frequently pitting families against educators at a time when they need to be allies.

Far too often, Black boys do not have the carefree childhood that their white counterparts get to experience. Societal marginalizations and harmful stereotypes cause many boys to develop mental health and other struggles that have serious, long-lasting negative impacts. LSU senior Brandon LaGrone Jr., writing in a guest column for The Times Picayune | Baton Rouge Advocate, examines how we can protect Black boys’ innocence and individuality during childhood. 

The plight of Black boys is worsened because rather than asking questions, people with power and resources brush off their misbehavior as a personality flaw. Instead of considering the effects on the mind from growing up with these stereotypes, some, not all Black youth get labeled as aggressive or lazy and are punished. This shows up in school suspensions, arrests and being perceived or treated as inferior. … We must challenge these harmful perceptions and create a society that values and nurtures innocence and individuality. Let us not rob our Black boys of their childhoods. Instead, let us empower them to thrive as the vibrant, multifaceted individuals they are meant to be.

68.5 – Average daily temperature (in degrees) for Louisiana, the fifth-highest in the nation. (Source: Payless Power)