14 April 2019

Regular legislative session through Apr. 13, 2019

Even more than typically, the Legislature didn’t work on many bills in its first week as it worked through parliamentary procedures.

THE GOOD: HB 584 by Rep. Dodie Horton would repeal 0.45 percent of the general sales tax.

SCORECARD:
Total number of bills, House: 584; total number of bills, Senate: 225.

Total number of good bills, House: 27; total number of good bills, Senate: 10.

Total number of bad bills, House: 25; total number of bad bills, Senate: 16.

Total House good bills heard in House committee: 0; total Senate good bills heard in Senate committee: 1.

Total House bad bills heard in House committee: 0; total Senate bad bills heard in Senate committee: 0.

Total House good bills passed by House committee: 0; total Senate good bills passed by Senate committee: 0.

Total House bad bills passed by House committee: 0; total Senate bad bills passed by Senate committee: 0.

Total House good bills approved by House: 0; total Senate good bills approved by Senate: 0.

Total House bad bills approved by House: 0; total Senate bad bills approved by Senate: 0.

Total House good bills heard in Senate committee: 0; total Senate good bills heard in House committee: 0.

Total House bad bills heard in Senate committee: 0; total Senate bad bills heard in House committee: 0.

Total House good bills approved by Senate committee: 0; total Senate good bills approved by House committee: 0.

Total House bad bills approved by Senate committee: 0; total Senate bad bills approved by House committee: 0.

Total House good bills approved by Senate: 0; total Senate good bills approved by House: 0.

Total House bad bills approved by Senate: 0; total Senate bad bills approved by House: 0.

Total House good bills going to governor: 0; total Senate good bills going to governor: 0.

Total House bad bills going to governor: 0; total Senate bad bills going to governor: 0.

Total House good bills signed by governor/filed with Secretary of State: 0; total Senate good bills signed by governor/filed with Secretary of State: 0.

Total House bad bills signed by governor/filed with Secretary of State: 0; total Senate bad bills signed by governor/filed with Secretary of State: 0.

07 April 2019

The Good, Bad, and Ugly for the 2019 Regular session

Welcome to the 2019 edition of the Louisiana Legislature Log, which is somewhat scaled-down from the past due to circumstances beyond my control. As always, we start with the Good, Bad and Ugly bills, except this year without the ugly.

THE GOOD: HB 12 by Rep. Steve Carter would amend the Constitution to provide a local option for applying the homestead exemption (similar bills: HB 238, HB 439); HB 19 by Rep. Kevin Pearson would help pay down the state’s unfunded accrued liability; HB 28 by Rep. Barry Ivey would shore up the fiscal health of the state’s retirement systems; HB 31 by Rep. Philip Devillier would phase out the corporate franchise tax (similar bill: HB 523); HB 57 by Rep. Tanner Magee would amend the Constitution to centralize sales tax collection with the state; HB 72 by Rep. Tony Bacala would reduce government waste; HB 82 by Devillier would publicize costs associated with bond, debt and tax  elections; HB 136 by Rep. Steve Pylant would amend the Constitution to refigure the homestead exemption; HB 147 by Rep. Rick Edmonds would build in a margin of safety in budgeting; HB 195 by Devillier would make the capital outlay process more flexible and create more legislative input; HB 231 by Pearson would strengthen freedom to use waterways; HB 281 by Rep. Blake Miguez would strengthen Second Amendment safeguards; HB 372 by Rep. Kirk Talbot applies tort reform to vehicle insurance and provides the means to lower rates; HB 388 by Miguez would protect personal identifying information from public records dissemination; HB 404 by Rep. Clay Schexnayder would eliminate unneeded boards and commissions; HB 413 by Miguez would prevent discrimination by merchants of those in the firearms and ammunition business; HB 416 by Ivey would flatten individual income tax rates in a way unlikely to result in an overall tax increase (similar bill: HB 441); HB 425 by Rep. Katrina Jackson would amend to Constitution to ensure these exists no right to abortion or its funding; HB 453 by Miguez would regulate more precisely unionization of teachers; HB 484 by Rep. Raymond Crews would establish more reliable record-keeping by abortion providers; HB 503 by Edmonds would pare unnecessary occupational licensing burdens for ex-convicts; HB 546 by Rep. Larry Bagley would remove some vehicles from inspection requirements; SB 14 by Sen. Barrow Peacock would impose term limits on retirement systems trustees; SB 93 by Sen. Rick Ward would flatten corporate income tax rates in a way unlikely to result in an overall tax increase (similar bill: HB 451); SB 122 by Sen. Marty Chabert would eliminate the inventory tax; SB 135 by Sen. Conrad Appel would make the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board’s civil service system more manageable and flexible; SB 183 by Sen. Dan Claitor would bring more transparency to Tulane legislative Scholarships; SB 184 by Sen. John Milkovich would prohibit abortion in cases where a fetal heartbeat is detected; SB 201 by Sen. Beth Mizell would eliminate the unneeded state agency trying to flood Washington Parish; SB 204 by Sen. Karen Peterson would allow diversion of tax dollars from tourism-oriented agencies to general New Orleans purposes; SB 221 by Mizell would increase knowledge for women contemplating abortions.

THE BAD: HB 6 by Rep. Sam Jenkins would create unenforceable, intrusive, and dangerous traffic law; HB 46 by Rep. Joseph Bouie would corrupt the reapportionment process; HB 63 by Bouie would increase taxpayer costs in trying to solve a nonexistent problem (similar bill: HB 289); HB 96 by Pylant would create too much confusion and inefficiency in the state’s bureaucracy; HB 175 by Bouie would impose needless business costs based on imprecise technology; HB 178 by Jackson would amend the Constitution to lift unwisely the retirement age for judges; HB 202 by Rep. Gary Miller would try to reduce election costs in an inefficient manner; HB 215 by Rep. Terry Landry would eliminate capital punishment (similar bill: SB 112); HB 251 by Rep. Randal Gaines would injure the integrity of the election process (similar bill: SB 58); HB 293 by Rep. Ken Brass would permit more wasteful spending by constables; HB 302 by Bouie would impose needless bureaucracy, costs, and regulation on business; HB 310 by Rep. Wayne McMahen would weaken teacher quality; HB 338 by Rep. Pat Smith would redefine bullying policy in ways too restrictive and not restrictive enough; HB 358 by Rep. Ted James would make it too easy to hoot up for non-medical reasons (similar bills: HB 462, HB 509, HB 564); HB 420 by Rep. Walt Leger would increase rather than redistribute hotel taxes in New Orleans (similar bill: HB 521); HB 422 by Rep. Royce Duplessis would amend the Constitution to permit cities to reduce opportunities through a minimum wage increase; HB 435 by Terry Landry would amend the Constitution to set in motion a process to increase regularly legislative salaries; HB 470 by Rep. Cedric Glover would merge Louisiana State University in Shreveport into Louisiana Tech University; HB 472 by Glover would waste even more money on subsidizing film-making; HB 542 by Steve Carter would raise the gas tax at the pump; SB 4 by Sen. J.P. Morrell would amend the Constitution to create another needless sales tax exemption (similar bill: SB 5); SB 27 by Sen. Danny Martiny would trigger an unnecessary salary increase for judges; SB 63 by Sen. Yvonne Colomb would diminish retroactively self-governance determination; SB 79 by Sen. Troy Carter would amend the Constitution to erode selectively New Orleans’ tax base (similar bill: SB 80); SB 97 by Sen. Wesley Bishop would shield unnecessarily public records; SB 98 by Sen. Ed Price would relax too much expungement criteria; SB 128 by Milkovich would water down education standards; SB 136 by Morrell would restrict needlessly business personnel practices; SB 155 by Carter would amend the Constitution to cost jobs and productivity with a minimum wage increase; SB 174 by Sen. Ronnie Johns would make less flexible elderly affairs policy; SB 186 by Morrell would create a wasteful benefit paid for by business; SB 219 by Sen. Regina Barrow would needlessly exclude certain kinds of health care coverage.

01 July 2018

Legislative regular session scores, 2018

And so it comes to this: revealing the 2018 Regular Session on the Louisiana Legislature voting scorecard. With all business disposed of, legislators and the governor receive grades (barring a miraculous veto override session). Eleven bills were selected and weighed for computation, all but two having been voted upon in both chambers. These were chosen from the watch list compiled throughout the session. For a bill’s vote(s) to be selected, in one chamber there had to be more than one legislator not voting for the winning or losing side.

Being that passage of bills depends upon the seated membership of a body, not voting is counted as a negative vote. However, if a legislator had a leave of absence granted for that day, his absent votes weren’t counted for bills voted on that day and the score adjusted to take that into account.

Here are the bills with votes for final passage in every case on which the scorecard was computed, with the conservative/reform position and the weighing indicated:

HB 54 – would make for more realistic recall provisions; a conservative/reform vote is for (10 percent)

HB 88 – would create greater disincentive to commit benefits fraud; a conservative/reform vote is for (10 percent)

HB 265 – would weaken incentives for felon reform; a conservative/reform vote is against (15 percent)

HB 321 – would increase government transparency; a conservative/reform vote is for (10 percent)

HB 413 – would raise TOPS standards and create a transfer award; a conservative/reform vote is for (10 percent)

HB 579 – would expand needlessly medical marijuana; a conservative/reform vote is against (5 percent)

HB 823 – would remove an oversight opportunity from the medical marijuana program; a conservative/reform vote is against (5 percent)

HB 891 – would prevent abortion providers from funneling indirectly public dollars to the practice; a conservative/reform vote is for (10 percent)

SB 364 – would strengthen free expression protections in higher education; a conservative/reform vote is for (10 percent)

SB 380 – would expand wastefully TOPS; a conservative/reform vote is against (10 percent)

SB 462 – would create incentives building more housing; a conservative/reform vote is for (15 percent)

The theme for the 2018 regular session seemed to be polarization, perhaps because of the stridency of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ insistence on funding larger government. Even as this blog doesn’t track the budget and tax measures can’t be considered during regular sessions in these even-numbered years, likely that conflict permeated to other issues.

One way this manifested was in the average legislator scores by party. Combining chambers, Republicans averaged over 79 while Democrats had a mean of under 37. Interestingly, only small inter-chamber differences emerged, with Republican senators fewer than three points lower than representatives, while Senate Democrats scored less than a point higher than their House co-partisans. Overall, this separated the chambers by a miniscule quarter-point.

However, the gap approaching 43 points isn’t a record, as 2012 saw a slightly wider margin. Still, the GOP average was the highest in history (going back to 2004), although Democrats have scored significantly lower three times, including last year.

Driving that Republican level was an unprecedented 12 representatives and five senators scoring 100 (none did last year). By contrast for Democrats, only state Sen. Yvonne Colomb scored zero – and that came from a single vote. On the other nine, she had an excused absence and didn’t vote. Among Democrats, only state Rep. Marcus Hunter scored in the single digits.

As another sign of polarization, of the House GOP only three Republicans scored below 50 while 43 Republicans scored higher than the highest-scoring Democrat, state Rep. Andy Anders. Only four other Democrats joined him scoring above 50. In two GOP cases, this could be explained by a number of missed votes. In the Senate, missed votes also explained the lowest scoring Republican, the only one below 50, state Sen. Ryan Gatti. Only three Democrats scored above 50, with the highest, state Sen. John Milkovich, outscored by 15 Republicans.

The House:

Bacala
100
Republican
Edmonds
100
Republican
Garafalo
100
Republican
Harris, L
100
Republican
Havard
100
Republican
Hazel
100
Republican
Hodges
100
Republican
Horton
100
Republican
Morris, Jim
100
Republican
Pugh
100
Republican
Pylant
100
Republican
Schexnayder
100
Republican
Amedee
95
Republican
Hilferty
95
Republican
Huval
95
Republican
Ivey
95
Republican
Stokes
95
Republican
DeVillier
90
Republican
Mack
90
Republican
Miguez
90
Republican
Muscarello
90
Republican
Seabaugh
90
Republican
Thomas
90
Republican
Davis
89
Republican
Crews
89
Republican
Bagley
85
Republican
Berthelot
85
Republican
Falconer
85
Republican
Magee
85
Republican
McFarland
85
Republican
Pearson
85
Republican
Stefanski
85
Republican
Wright
85
Republican
Barras
80
Republican
Brown, T
80
Independent
Carmody
80
Republican
Coussan
80
Republican
Henry
80
Republican
Landry, N
80
Republican
Simon
80
Republican
Morris, Jay
79
Republican
Emerson
75
Republican
Howard
75
Republican
Pope
75
Republican
Abraham
70
Republican
Anders
70
Democrat
Carter, S
70
Republican
Hoffman
70
Republican
Bishop, S
65
Republican
Chaney
65
Republican
Dwight
65
Republican
Foil
65
Republican
Guinn
65
Republican
Leopold
65
Republican
Miller, G
65
Republican
Talbot
65
Republican
Connick
60
Republican
Billiot
55
Democrat
Brown, C
55
Democrat
Reynolds
55
Democrat
White, M
55
Democrat
Zeringue
55
Republican
Danahay
50
Democrat
Gisclair
50
Democrat
Hill
50
Independent
Hollis
50
Republican
LeBas
50
Democrat
Norton
50
Democrat
Stagni
50
Republican
Marino
47
Independent
Richard
47
Independent
Carter, R
45
Democrat
Jones
45
Democrat
Thibaut
45
Democrat
Abramson
40
Democrat
Brass
40
Democrat
Carpenter
40
Democrat
Franklin
40
Democrat
Hall
40
Democrat
Harris, J
40
Democrat
Jackson
40
Democrat
Lyons
40
Democrat
Pierre
40
Democrat
Shadoin
35
Republican
Jenkins
35
Democrat
Armes
30
Democrat
Bouie
30
Democrat
Carter, G
30
Democrat
Cox
30
Democrat
Gaines
30
Democrat
Glover
30
Democrat
Hensgens
30
Republican
Johnson
30
Democrat
Jordan
30
Democrat
Landry, T
30
Democrat
Cromer
25
Republican
Duplessis
22
Democrat
Bagneris
20
Democrat
James
20
Democrat
Jefferson
20
Democrat
Leger
20
Democrat
Marcelle
20
Democrat
Miller, D
20
Democrat
Smith
10
Democrat
Hunter
5
Democrat

And the Senate:

Appel
100
Republican
Erdey
100
Republican
Hewitt
100
Republican
Peacock
100
Republican
Walsworth
100
Republican
Donahue
90
Republican
Lambert
89
Republican
Fannin
87
Republican
Long
85
Republican
Allain
80
Republican
Mizell
80
Republican
Claitor
75
Republican
Perry
75
Republican
Riser
75
Republican
Cortez
72
Republican
Alario
70
Republican
Milkovich
70
Democrat
White, B
70
Republican
Chabert
65
Republican
Johns
65
Republican
Mills
65
Republican
Smith, G
65
Democrat
Smith, J
65
Republican
Morrish
64
Republican
Martiny
60
Republican
Thompson
60
Democrat
Ward
55
Republican
Tarver
50
Democrat
Luneau
45
Democrat
Gatti
40
Republican
LaFleur
40
Democrat
Bishop, W
35
Democrat
Carter, T
30
Democrat
Morrell
30
Democrat
Price
30
Democrat
Barrow
25
Democrat
Boudreaux
22
Democrat
Peterson
20
Democrat
Colomb
0
Democrat

Finally, Edwards racked up a 44, which about fits his average of just under 47 for his three years. This makes him a bit less liberal/populist than the typical legislative Democrat, but much less conservative/reformist than the typical Republican legislator.

So, the Log bows out for another year.