25 June 2007

Floor action, Jun. 25: SB 161, HB 614, HB 962, HB 495

SB 14 got deferred and is subject to call, meaning supporters of the controversial bill which would take away the sole power of the state Treasurer to set the State Bond Commission’s agenda did not have the votes to assure its passage in the House at the time.

SB 161 would ban partial birth abortions and punish doctors who do so and create legal actions for wrongful death – the difference between this and HB 614 which in this would allow the mother to sue if wrongfully done. An oversight in wording sent the bill back to the calendar to cook up an amendment.

Moments later, it was back and changed. The bill passed 98-1.

HB 614, moments later in the Senate, was passed over as a result.

HB 962 would allow the state-owned insurer Citizens Property Insurance Corporation to charge rates comparable to the private sector’s in parishes deemed “noncompetitive” in provision of homeowner insurers, instead of its mandated 10 percent markup. The bill was amended by handler state Sen. Don Cravins to allow the state auditor easier access to the records of Citizens. The bill passed 35-1.

During debate on HB 459, Sen. Rob Marionneaux complained that the House was failing to move on Senate bills that had a fiscal impact, and proposed returning every House bill that had a fiscal note to the calendar starting with this one. The motion failed.

HB 495 would give income tax breaks to “artists.” Sen. Willie Mount handled it and said it would create a better climate for art production and would “bring talent home.” The definition of “art” already has been set by the state. She said the $7.5 million lost in revenue should be offset over a $195 million industry.

Sen. Art Lentini asked whether one had to be a full-time artist, apparently not. He wondered whether the state had the ability to do accurate audits on all of this and though it likely much fraud would be involved. Mount said it could be declared on if also declared on federal income tax forms. Lentini pressed on what documentation could prove this income existed as art, didn’t know of any, and expressed great doubt these transactions could be accurately tracked and verified.

Marionneaux blasted the bill, saying it singled out a special class of people when others he named he said deserved such breaks far more. He implied these breaks would disproportionately favor the wealthier and wondered why not remove income tax liability from the poorest taxpayers. “If you design Gucci purses, you get it. This isn’t what we ought to be doing.” Sen. Max Malone claimed the bill would extend itself to “media,” including broadcast media.

Mount reemphasized the measure would apply only to art sold and asked for passage. After a quorum call, the bill failed 18-20.

And the reporters here [in the press gallery] say they’re going down a quarter?
Sen. James David Cain, when asking about HB 386 that would remove any satte sales taxes from selling newspapers.

I nominate this bill as the worst bill of the session…. It’s the Edsel of the session.
Sen. Ken Hollis on HB 484 which would allow bars to hold poker tournaments as long as they derive no income from them – and apparently was convincing enough to return the bill to the calendar.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

At least the "artiste" tax break failed. Its author strikes me as a buffoon in addition to his duties as a committee chairman.

There is no longer any doubt that blank-o is the worst governor in a long line of bad ones. The only question remaining is whether this legislature is a "worst ever" as well. Together, blank-o and the leges have set the state on the road from relative prosperity to fiscal disaster within a year or so. Too bad the door won't hit all of them in the ass as they leave in January...