07 November 2005

Legislative first extraordinary session action for Nov. 7, continued

The Senate has lagged the House in proposing several things. For example, four separate bills address a uniform construction code, but with HB 76 already out of the gate in committee, it’s uncertain which if any will gain the Senate’s backing. Several others have counterparts in the House to which purposes are essentially identical. A handful are noted here that differ in some significant respect from house versions.

THE GOOD: James David Cain’s SB 15 takes existing ethics reporting laws and expands them to cover any disaster relief activities. SB 34 by Jay Dardenne potentially expands tax credits claimable under state tax law for filers with expenses related to the disasters, even beyond the three House bills.

THE BAD: Cleo FieldsSB 45 would force the state to continue to pay salary and benefits for state workers who are not working – all those who have and haven’t gotten work, temporary or permanent, since Aug, 29, 2005, can double-dip courtesy of the Louisiana taxpayer without doing a thing for the state.

THE UGLY: Dardenne’s SB 13 wouldn’t quite qualify as ugly because it ratifies Gov. Kathleen Blanco's decision to freeze spending on the notorious urban and rural funds, but because it makes one exception out of the many forsaken projects – the Rapides Parish Law Enforcement District for Louisiana Youth Academy Program. Why?

Total House introductions: 104; total Senate introductions: 48.

Total House good bills: 5; total Senate good bills: 3. (note: counts as one any one of the three bills dealing with tax credits)

Total House bad bills: 6; total Senate bad bills: 3.

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