12 May 2009

Floor action, May 12: HB 461, HB 407, HB 591

HB 461 by Rep. Elton Aubert would prevent credit card companies from setting up personal contracting of credit cards on college campuses to students. He said it would restrict only this avenue of solicitation, and was too much of a potential for abuse.

Rep. Hunter Greene asked why this limitation should be in place, as these students are of the age of majority for contracting purposes. We asked whether this should be a question of individual responsibility. Aubert agreed. Rep. Kirk Talbot said that getting credit in this fashion could pay off for the long run, building a credit history for responsible people, and Aubert agreed. Rep. Avon Honey said he had seen too many instance of students getting credit, then blowing it all and “paying $20 a week for the rest of their lives” to pay off the debt. Rep. Jeff Arnold said the bill needed clarification, dealing more with banking, and that it might be much more restrictive than at first glance. So, he argued for recommission to the Commerce Committee. Rep. Erich Ponti said this matter was one of money, since the university could get income from it by companies paying for the ability to use this forum for solicitations. Arnold assured this was not “a sneak attack” and said the bill would not allow setting up on campuses during sporting events. The motion succeeded 53-46.

HB 407 by Rep. Mert Smiley had a weird day. The bill would create additional disclosure of activities of boards and commissions such as on the Internet. Initially, it was quickly adopted. But later, Smiley asked that it be reconsidered because of a drafting error. So, the House unwound some of it, putting it in a position where it could then be tabled and redone next week. But then Rep. Cedric Richmond lauded the concept of transparency an offered an amendment to it dealing with campaign finance reform, which required ant appointer to a state board or office to reveal whether he had received contributions from the appointed, a measure opposed by the Gov. Bobby Jindal Administration and many in the Legislature.. Speaker Jim Tucker was queried as to its germaneness, and ruled that it was not. It then was passed in the correct form 99-0.

HB 591 by Rep. Noble Ellington would carve an exception into ethics rules that would allow any amount spent on a legislator in conjunction with a regional or national meeting for food and drink. After an amendment requiring reporting of the amount, it passed 59-33. Jindal has promised a veto of this bill.

Now, now, this isn’t the People’s Court
Tucker, when debate began to get excitable.

I can’t tap into his brain, and mine doesn’t work any more.
Rep. Hollis Downs, referring to efforts by himself and the absent Rep. Brett Geymann on their experiences with legislation dealing with consensual sex between high school employees and students.

I would like to move my parking spot from the front to back. I think it’s going to happen anyway, and I would like to take credit for it.
Mr. LaBruzzo will swap with you.
Richmond and Tucker, after Richmond’s amendment offering; Rep. John LaBruzzo had gained recent notoriety for a bill that would require drug testing of recipients of welfare which was panned by many.

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