Bill would place new limits on Tulane scholarships

A Baton Rouge state senator wants to bar lawmakers from giving their annual Tulane University scholarships to the relatives of any elected officials in the state.

Republican Sen. Dan Claitor is proposing the restrictions, to begin with the 2015-16 academic year, in a bill filed Tuesday for the legislative session that begins March 10.

The Tulane scholarship program, which dates back to the 1880s, lets each state lawmaker give one student annually a scholarship to the private university, an award worth more than $43,000 a year.

Claitor’s bill would prohibit lawmakers from getting campaign donations from scholarship recipients or recipients’ relatives, and it would require a preference for scholarships be given to children of military service members or law enforcement killed on active duty.

The proposal also would require Tulane University to publish the names of the recipients.

The scholarship program was heavily criticized more than a decade ago when it was disclosed that lawmakers had given out awards to children of other elected officials, donors and their own family.

Criteria were tightened slightly, but attempts to get rid of the scholarships failed.

All students who receive Tulane legislative scholarships fill out a form saying whether they are related to an elected official. But the House and Senate refuse to release the information, saying it’s not public record.

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Senate Bill 1 can be found at www.legis.la.gov