Are bulletproof backpacks really bulletproof?

Sen. Mike Walsworth, R-West Monroe, proposed the bill that would allow Louisiana students to wear bulletproof backpacks. (Photo: Ashley Wolf)

Brianna Jones-Williams and Martha Ramirez

Considering bulletproof backpacks for your children?

The state Legislature is close to approving them as optional school gear, and they are easy to find online from companies with names like Bullet Blocker and Guard Dog Security. The backpacks typically cost from $100 to $400 and come in a variety of colorful styles and prints.

But can they really stop a speeding bullet?

The suppliers say tests show that their backpacks, which contain panels of the densely woven Kevlar fiber used in bulletproof vests, can withstand shots from handguns and shotguns. But ballistics experts say the backpacks are no match for bullets from assault rifles, like AR-15’s, that have been used in recent school shootings and that strike the most terror in parents’ hearts.

Read the story in The Shreveport Times.

Why are people more apt to believe ‘fake news’?

George Washington University associate professor David Karpf, leaning forward at center, discusses the meaning and power of fake news at the conference. (Photo: Jennifer Korth/LSU Manship School News Service)

By Mary Chiapetta

WASHINGTON — By now you’ve probably all heard the popular buzzwords “fake news,” but would you recognize fake news if you saw it?

Eighty percent of Americans in a nationally representative sample express confidence in their ability to recognize fake news, according to recent research from the Public Policy Research Lab at LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication. Yet, many remain vulnerable.

Read the story in The News Star.

State Legislature continues campus free speech battle

Jason Droddy, the chief of staff for LSU’s president, pushed unsuccessfully Thursday for amendments to a bill that would limit campus restrictions on free speech. (Photo: Joby Richard, LSU Manship School News Service)

By Joby Richard and Kaylee Poche

In an 8-4 vote along party lines, the House Education Committee on Thursday approved a bill limiting the ability of universities to set time, place and manner restrictions on First Amendment speech and assembly.

The bill, proposed by Sen. Rick Ward, R-Port Allen, requires universities to develop written policies regarding free expression on campus and make annual reports to the Legislature.

Read the story in The Daily Advertiser.

LA House pushes 4 bills: 2 for TOPS, 2 for student safety

Sen. Wesley Bishop, D—New Orleans, explains his proposal for a TOPS Second Chance Award for students who initially did not qualify due to their ACT score. | Photo Credit: Joby Richard

By Joby Richard

The House Education Committee pushed four bills this week to the House floor, two involving TOPS scholarships and two focused on student safety.

The committee on Wednesday passed a bill to create a TOPS Second Chance Award for students who are succeeding at four-year universities even though they did not score at least a 20 on the ACT in high school.

Read the story in KALB-TV/

Bill requiring unanimous jury verdicts moves closer to reality

Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, has proposed a bill to require unanimous verdicts in felony cases. (Photo credit: Sarah Gamard/Manship School News Service)

By Drew White

Louisiana lawmakers made progress Wednesday toward allowing voters to determine whether felony cases should require unanimous verdicts, a change that supporters say would preserve defendant’s Sixth Amendment rights to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury.

Louisiana is one of two states — joined by Oregon — that allow non-unanimous verdicts to decide the outcome of felony cases. Only 10 votes on a 12-person jury is now required for a conviction.

Read the story in The Louisiana Weekly.

House to vote on two-to-four year TOPS award

James Caillier, executive director of the Patrick Taylor Foundation, explained Thursday the difference between TOPS curriculum pathways that students take in high school. (Photo: Joby Richard)

By Joby Richard

The House Education Committee on Thursday approved a proposal that provides students at two-year vocational and technical colleges with a path for transferring to four-year universities.

Senator Mack “Bodi” White, Jr., R – Baton Rouge, proposed creating the “TOPS-Tech 2Plus2 Award” to help a small number of students who did not qualify for TOPS in high school but performed well in community college.

Read the story in the Gonzales Weekly Citizen.

Lawmakers make progress towards strengthening bestiality bill

Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, presented his anti-bestiality bill to a House committee on Wednesday. (Photo by Drew White/Manship School News Service)

By Drew White

State legislators made more progress Wednesday toward strengthening a state law that bans sex with animals.

The House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee passed the bill 14-0 after much debate, sending it to the House floor. The bill, written by Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, was approved by the Senate earlier this month.

Read the story in FOX 8 News/