Airs Sunday, July 13 at 6 p.m. Would a reduction in penalties encourage more usage and lead the state down a path to legalization? Mandatory drug sentences cost Louisiana taxpayers millions of dollars to incarcerate people charged with simple possession of marijuana. Would a reduction in penalties encourage more usage and lead the state down a path to legalization? Or does Louisiana - which ranks among the top ten states for drug use - need further reinforcements in its battle against this “gateway drug”? Louisiana Public Square explores the pros and cons of legalization on “Pot or Not? The Decriminalization Debate.”
Airs, Sunday, October 20 at 6 p.m. A national report says Louisiana charter school students learn faster than their peers in traditional public schools. That’s not the case, though, if those charters are in suburban or rural parishes. There are over 100 charter schools throughout the state with the nation’s largest percentage of public charter school students in New Orleans. So, how effective are charter schools in Louisiana? Are they delivering promised educational dividends or putting taxpayers’ dollars at risk? And when measuring success, do charter schools compete with traditional public schools on a level playing field in the areas of admissions and accountability?
Airs Sunday, September 15 at 6 p.m. The U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in June will allow some federal benefits for same-sex couples that were legally married elsewhere but live in Louisiana. But what other impact will it have in the state? Louisiana passed a constitutional amendment in 2004 that defines marriage as "between one man and one woman" and denies the recognition of gay unions. In light of the High Court’s decision, could Louisiana’s Defense of Marriage Amendment be challenged? Does Louisiana’s current position on gay marriage threaten the recruitment of employers to the state? And do legislative attempts to recognize gay rights achieve equal protection at the expense of another’s religious freedom? Louisiana Public Square pursues the answers to these questions and more when it explores the issues involved when you’re “Gay in Louisiana.”
Airs Sunday, August 4 at 6 p.m. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Baton Rouge and New Orleans rank 2nd and 3rd among America’s largest metropolitan areas for the rate of new HIV diagnoses. For AIDS cases, Baton Rouge and New Orleans rank 1st and 5th. Nearly one-third of new cases for both diseases are among women, and more than three-quarters of new diagnoses are among blacks. So how is Louisiana confronting this health issue? Who is most at-risk? Do new testing methods exacerbate the problem? Is the solution just more funding and education? Where is the line drawn between individual responsibility and government intervention? Louisiana Public Square searches for answers to these issues and more.
Airs Friday, April 27 at 7:00 p.m. What will the changes to the state’s education system mean for Louisiana’s public schools? Much of Governor Jindal’s education reform package has passed this legislative session, including creating America’s largest school voucher program, tying teacher pay to test scores and granting more authority to principals and superintendents. While debate still continues on some proposals, Louisiana Public Square takes time to explore what the changes mean for parents, students, teachers and taxpayers on its April edition, Education Reform 2012.