New Orleans public middle and high schools are a step closer to receiving comprehensive sex education. State Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, was able to push through his Senate Bill 31 allowing anonymous student health risk surveys in schools. The surveys are designed to determine the kinds of sex ed students will receive. The measure passed the Louisiana Senate by a vote of 27-10 and was reported favorably by the House Education committee on May 20. The measure moves to the House and Governmental Affairs committee, which meets May 27.
Morrell also successfully pushed a measure to reduce penalties for marijuana possession. Senate Bill 241 was approved by the state Senate's Judiciary B committee. Last year, similar attempts faced opposition from Louisiana sheriffs and district attorneys. Morrell's bill calls for no more than 15 days in jail for a first offense, which could be expunged after a two-year period. Third and fourth convictions would remain felonies under the bill, but jail sentences are significantly shortened. The measure is pending final passage in the Senate and then must clear the House.