A bill primarily authored by District 16 State Representative Katrina R. Jackson was signed into law Tuesday by Governor Bobby Jindal.
House Bill 724, the Prayer in School Bill was signed into law and fedexed to Jackson for a press conference she held yesterday at the Visitor Center. Various legislators from across the state as well as state representatives, local officials and members of the clergy were on hand when Jackson presented the new law to those gathered for the event. " I had been praying about authoring a bill regarding prayer in school for some time when I was contacted by Pastor Charles Bradford and his wive Jo Ann," Jackson said. "They believed so strongly in the need for a law that I knew I had to try and get one passed. "We opened session with prayer and my fellow representatives recognized the importance of this legislation," Jackson continued. The bill was introduced May 1 and read for the third time by title and amended May 13. A roll called on the final passage passed with an unanimous vote of 92. It was then ordered to the Senate, where on June 1 it was read by title and passed by a second unanimous vote of 39 for and 0 against. The law authorizes school authorities to permit public school students to gather for prayer before or after school or at any non instructional time during the school day. It also provides for attendance by school employees, parents and persons from the community under certain circumstances. It will become law Aug. 1, 2013. "I represent a district where an overwhelming majority of the constituency believes that prayer should be in school. I believe that as well," Jackson said. "It is my belief that when our children begin to pray in school regarding their grades, school violence, bullying and a host of other things, God will begin to heal in those areas."