21 March 2020

Regular legislative session through Mar. 21, 2020

With the Legislature parking matters for a couple of weeks as a result of the Wuhan coronavirus after Monday, little activity occurred this week. But a bill of note did sneak in before things came to a halt.

THE GOOD: HB 713 by Rep. Kathy Edmonston would devolve textbook selection to districts.

SCORECARD:

14 March 2020

Regular legislative session through Mar. 14, 2020

Bill filing continues, with a few new additions:

THE GOOD: SB 418 by Sen. Kirk Talbot adds to other bills with sensible tort reform (similar bill: SB 419); SB 423 by Sen. Bodi White creates the overdue transition to formation of the new city of St. George.

Mostly very noncontroversial bills moved this week, but the more important ones tracked here did experience one change:

09 March 2020

The Good, Bad, and Ugly for the 2020 Regular Session

Back for a 16th edition, the Louisiana Legislature Log presents its annual review of good, bad, and ugly bills, for the 2020 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature.

THE GOOD: HB 9 by Rep. Ray Garofalo would reform tort laws to look more like those of other states with much lower vehicle insurance rates (similar bills: SB 45, HB 207, HB 258, HB 280, HB 573, SB 86, SB 242, SB 338); HB 20 by Rep. Rodney Schamerhorn would amend the Constitution to prohibit future elected officials from having taxpayer contributions to a retirement system; HB 28 by Rep. Barry Ivey would establish an optimal hybrid retirement plan for education employees not teachers (related bills: HB 30, HB 31, HB 32, HB 33, HB 34); HB 56 by Rep. Sherman Mack would expand eligibility for legal concealed carry of handguns (similar bill: HB 72); HB 79 by Rep. Mike Huval would make for more accurate court judgments concerning lost wages; HB 82 by Rep. Tony Bacala would improve fraud detection measures in benefits programs; HB 90 by Rep. Zee Zeringue would amend the Constitution to allow greater sunshine in Judiciary Commission actions (similar bill: HB 318); HB 112 by Rep. Lance Harris would amend the Constitution to allow for merit considerations in judicial selection; HB 118 by Rep. Rick Edmonds would create a two percent safety margin in budgeting; HB 128 by Rep. Mark Wright would direct more gas taxes to go to actual infrastructure (similar bills: HB 276, HB 487, HB 493); HB 140 by Rep. Blake Miguez would protect rights of businesses in affirming Second Amendment protections; HB 154 by Rep. Dodie Horton would establish intellectual diversity forums on college campuses; HB 186 by Zeringue would increase transparency in higher education budgeting (similar bill: HB 359); HB 193 by Mack would improve prevention of public benefits being used to support illegal drug use; HB 201 by Harris would increase openness of judicial elections; HB 222 by Mack would make application of capital punishment administratively easier; HB 230 by Huval would allow admissibility of seat belt wearing as evidence in tort judicial proceedings (similar bill: HB 256, SB 12); HB 237 by Wilford Carter would improve nursing training (related bill: HB 242); HB 252 by Rep. Valarie Hodges would improve civics instruction; HB 285 by Rep. Phillip DeVillier would promote wiser use of capital outlay dollars; HB 314 by Schamerhorn would abolish the need for obsolete printed government official printed journals; HB 334 by Rep. Bryan Fontenot would increase protection in houses of worship; HB 428 by Rep. Michael Echols would amend the Constitution to allow for centralized sales tax collection (similar bill: HB 581); HB 431 by Rep. Beryl Amedee brings some uniformity to deputy constable regulation; HB 439 by Zeringue brings uniformity to coastal zone regulations; HB 440 by Rep. John Stefanski would amend the Constitution to direct more money to transportation infrastructure (related bill: HB 446); HB 445 by Speaker Clay Schexnayder would create a lockbox for unclaimed property funds (similar bill: HB 536); HB 497 by Ivey would increase efficiency of the Legislative Auditor; HB 528 by Miguez would amend the Constitution to create a realistic expenditure limit (similar bill: HB 571); HB 620 by Rep. Beau Beaullieu would shore up unemployment insurance and provide greater incentive to work; HB 686 by Rep. Danny McCormick would create concealed handgun carry without permitting; HB 689 by Zeringue would enable colleges to manage their resources better; HB 700 by Rep. Jonathan Goudeau would enable better verification of unemployment compensations payouts.

SB 18 by Sen. Barrow Peacock would award to new state employees retirement benefits more congruent with people’s lifespans and working lifetimes (similar bill: SB 20); SB 75 by Sen. Beth Mizell would increase ballot security; SB 82 by Mizell would reduce public corruption; SB 157 by Sen. Glen Womack would increase confidence in use of state emergency funds by local governments; SB 166 by Sen. Sharon Hewitt would provide for better use of Medicaid dollars; SB 172 by Mizell would ensure fairness in state-sanctioned athletic contests (similar bill: HB 466); SB 176 by Sen. Bret Allain would clarify ownership of land adjacent to waterlines (similar bill: SB 177); SB 187 by Sen. Bodi White would amend the Constitution to being predictability to the Industrial Tax Exemption Program (similar bills: HB 347, HB 527, HB 531, SB 192, SB 236, SB 350); SB 194 by Hewitt would project needed sunshine onto judges’ financial disclosures; SB 211 by Allain would bring fairness to interest earned on tax overpayments; SB 231 by Sen. Kirk Talbot clarifies the state’s potential delivery of health care; SB 275 by Hewitt prevents contracting legal services to outside parties for coastal management; SB 286 by Sen. Rogers Pope would make illegal misrepresentation of entitlement to assistance animals; SB 304 by Peacock would remove limits on committee campaign contributions; SB 335 by Allain brings the state into constitutionality regarding political party governance (similar bills: HB 690, SB 351); SB 356 by White explicates legislative intent regarding the Revenue Estimating Conference; SB 361 by Mizell would prevent unnecessary prison inmate surgeries paid by taxpayers; SB 375 by Sen. Heather Cloud protects the rights of owners of long-term rental properties; SB 380 by Mizell increases accountability of abortion providers.

THE BAD: HB 22 by Rep. Larry Bagley would amend the Constitution to eliminate the mandatory retirement age for judges (related bills: HB 27, HB 144, SB 276); HB 23 by Bagley would eliminate the mandatory retirement age for justices of the peace; HB 38 by Rep. Kyle Green would end the death penalty; HB 41 by Green would create chaos in gubernatorial succession; HB 42 by Green would tie the useless lieutenant governorship to the governor in elections (similar bill: HB 50); HB 60 by Green would increase the elected term of district attorneys to ten years; HB 94 by Green would impose an arbitrary, job-killing minimum wage (similar bills: SB 136, SB 279, SB 317, SB 401); HB 97 by Rep. Jeremy Lacombe would discourage consolidation of small water systems and their efficient management; HB 96 by Harris inadequately provides for merit selection of judges; HB 104 by Wilford Carter would encourage failure to maintain adequate vehicle insurance; HB 106 by Green would create needless government regulation of wages; HB 107 by Rep. Jason Hughes would discourage individual family responsibility for and transfer to taxpayers meal provision to students; HB 108 by Rep. Ted James would interfere with schooling on weekdays with elections; HB 135 by Rep. Joe Marino would make it easier for accused drug kingpins to skip town; HB 147 by Hughes could limit in Orleans Parish Second Amendment rights for no compelling reason; HB 158 by Marino would make it easier to hoot up legally (similar bill: HB 330, HB 346, HB 385, HB 386, HB 546, HB 626, HB 646); HB 188 by Rep. Jonathan Goudeau would weaken civil service independence; HB 198 by Horton would amend the Constitution loosens too much public safety employees to engage in certain political activities; HB 200 by Green would increase the chances of election fraud (similar bill: SB 259); HB 206 by Rep. Stephanie Hilferty would amend the Constitution to allow increasing to make more dysfunctional the homestead exemption (similar bill: HB 545); HB 221 by Rep. Edmond Jordan would reduce freedom of choice for borrowers; HB 241 by James would expunge criminal records prematurely; HB 273 by Jordan would expand taxpayer subsidies to unions; HB 302 by Rep. Joe Stagni would commit needlessly more state dollars to a local government expense; HB 324 by Echols would increase taxpayer-paid health care costs; HB 325 by Echols would reduce the ability of local and state employees to access insurance they paid for; HB 328 by Aimee Freeman would create an unneeded tax exception; HB 339 by James reduces potential time served for many criminals; HB 344 by Rep. Mandie Landry grants too many exceptions for use of solitary confinement; HB 364 by Rep. Randal Gaines would weaken habitual offender penalties; HB 366 by Landry would legalize prostitution; HB 369 by Stagni would expand the reach of gambling; HB 397 by Landry creates penalties too draconian for misclassification of employees for workers’ compensation purposes (similar bill SB 201); HB 403 by Rep. Kathy Edmonston would allow pardoned individuals not to complete fulfillment of sentence; HB 447 by Rep. Barbara Carpenter would needlessly restrict business wage practices; HB 448 by Rep. Kenny Cox would weaken education accountability standards (similar bills: SB 293, SB 298); HB 454 by Rep. Sam Jenkins would reduce disincentives to commit crime by restoring the right to vote too cavalierly; HB 464 by Beaullieu would amend the Constitution to let the expenditure limit grow too quickly (similar bills: HB 469, HB 524, HB 578); HB 475 by Rep. Stephanie Hilferty would require too generous paid family leave; HB 576 by Rep. Matthew Willard would degrade the integrity of voter registration lists; HB 657 by Rep. Tammy Phelps would cause micromanagement and introduce politics into school administration; HB 658 by Phelps would waste school time on an activity that eligible students should pursue on their own time; HB 676 by Rep. Julie Emerson would impair debt collection tools for colleges.

SB 13 by Sen. Jay Luneau would remove a salient fact from use in determination of vehicle insurance rates (similar bills: HB 85, HB 86, HB 87, HB 153, HB 224, HB 225, SB 14, SB 15, SB 16, SB 101, SB 219, SB 299); SB 44 by Sen. Cleo Fields would amend the Constitution to allow a minor to serve and vote on the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (related bill: SB 56); SB 49 by Sen. Troy Carter would unnecessarily regulate business personnel practices related to employee behavior (similar bill: HB 238); SB 76 by Fields would allow for weaker state college admission standards (similar bills: SB 83; SB 196); SB 77 by Sen. Joseph Bouie would needlessly regulate state contractors over a nonexistent problem; SB 107 by Bouie would create unnecessary confusion in the reapportionment process (similar bill: HB 625); SB 207 by Sen. Gary Smith would amend the Constitution to allow property taxes to rise too quickly (similar bill: SB 245); SB 220 by Sen. Regina Barrow would treat expungement criteria too cavalierly; SB 256 by Carter tells restaurants what they can offer; SB 261 by Carter violates the First Amendment; SB 295 by Barrow would create a disincentive for healthy living by state employees (related bill: SB 314); SB 309 by Barrow would serve to increase vehicle insurance rates; SB 328 by Barrow too broadly insinuates discrimination against blacks; SB 367 by Fields would impose unnecessary environmental costs on some businesses; SB 412 by Barrow uselessly adds another licensing impediment.

THE UGLY: SB 146 by Sen. Ronnie Johns would create a “funeral director assistant;” why add yet another job occupation license in a state overburdened with these? HB 430 by Willard would impose a lower ceiling on rapid property tax increases in Orleans Parish; why just an exception there? HB 505 by Rep. Stuart Bishop would license yet another occupation; art therapy?

20 July 2019

Legislative regular session scores, 2019

After two weeks’ delay, here comes the 2019 Regular Session on the Louisiana Legislature voting scorecard. With all business disposed of, legislators and the governor received grades (barring a miraculous veto override session). Twelve bills were selected and weighed for computation, all but two having been voted upon in both chambers. These were chosen mainly 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:

30 June 2019

Regular legislative session through Jun. 29, 2019

The governor had just only one bill outstanding to deal with before his veto power expired. With all legislation final, next week will feature the 2019 scorecard.

THIS WEEK FOR THE GOOD: HB 484 was signed by the governor.