For the first time in a number of years, the annual Youth Legislature Conference moved to the Louisiana Legislature’s new capitol building for the Friday session. Students had a chance to debate bills from the desks of State Representatives and State Senators, giving them a first-hand experience with democracy in action. Episcopal students had several opportunities to participate in the process. Below are a few highlights.
Junior Jack Campbell chaired a House committee on the first night of the conference, helping to manage debate on bills covering a variety of topics. Sophomores Matthew Bickham and Gregory Field vigorously defended their bill before the State Supreme Court when it was challenged for violating the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause.
On the final day’s plenary session, which combined both the Senate and House chambers, Episcopal students energetically debated a number of bills. Hudson Graham, Sean Brooks, Jack Campbell, Adam Azmeh, Robert Xing, Gregory Field and Matthew Bickham all spoke before the joint session that included several hundred students from throughout Louisiana.
Each student was required to submit an original bill and presented these in committee on Thursday. The delegation included ninth graders Catherine Barney and Ellie Williams, sophomores Natalie Macaluso, Abhay Basireddy, Robert Xing, Gregory Field, Adam Azmeh, Tucker Harrell, Matthew Bickham, juniors Ryan Whaley, Hudson Graham, Joseph Patterson, Jack Campbell, and Sean Brooks, and seniors Alyssa Macaluso and Austin Broussard.
This was the third year Episcopal sent a group to the Youth Legislature conference, and participation has grown from an initial group of five in 2016 to sixteen this year. In February, Episcopal will send a delegation to the state Model United Nations Conference, which is organized by the same YMCA branch that organized the Youth Legislature conference. One of this year’s Youth Leg participants, twelfth grader Alyssa Macaluso will be serving as President of the General Assembly at the Model United Nations conference in February.