10 March 2012
The Good, Bad, and Ugly -- Prefiled bills for 2012 Regular Session
Welcome to the Louisiana Legislature Log’s coverage of the 2012 Regular Session, with the listing of the good, bad, and ugly prefiled bills. Starting next week, updates will come on these on a weekly basis, as well as selective coverage of committee and floor action on them.
THE GOOD: HB 9 by Rep. Tony Ligi would require forfeiture of pension benefits to an employee who committed a felony associated with job performance but would retain it for their surviving family (related bills: HB 10, HB 42, HB 43); HB 13 by Rep. Kirk Talbot would halt the loophole allowing grandfathered part-time employees (including state legislators) from getting service credit for full-time retirement after this year (related bill: HB 21); HB 14 by Talbot would prevent most state retirees from drawing a pension and being re-employed or drawing additional benefits; HB 44 by Rep. Patrick Connick transfers the Crescent City Connection police to the state; HB 46 by Rep. Kevin Pearson would allow the Legislature’s web site to be used as its official journal for notification of retirement legislation (related bill: SB 21); HB 53 by Pearson would raise the retirement age at full pension for many state employees under the age of 55 to 67 (related bill: SB 51); HB 55 by Pearson would extend the computation of pension from a three-year to five-year average for many state employees (related bills: SB 7, SB 47); HB 56 by Pearson would increase by three percent the employee contribution rate for many state employees into their retirement plans related bill: SB 9, SB 52); HB 60 would merge the Teachers Retirement System of Louisiana and the Louisiana School Employees Retirement System (related bill: SB 46, SB 56); HB 61 by Pearson would create a cash balance system for many new state hires (related bills: SB 17, SB 26, SB 53); HB 87 by Rep. Neil Abramson would create a committee to study recommendation of a constitutional convention and set procedures for one if authorized; HB 88 by Rep. Bob Hensgens would prohibit any deduction made by the state on behalf of another organization to be used for politicking; HB 89 by Ligi would make public hearings regarding collective bargaining matters by legislative bodies; HB 95 by Rep. Cameron Henry prohibits cash benefits paid by the state under means-tested social welfare entitlement programs to be withdrawn in cash and prohibits the use of such benefits in liquor stores, gaming establishments, and sexually oriented businesses (related bills: HB 340; HB 525); HB 128 by Hensgens would require secret ballot elections for union organizing elections; HB 148 by Rep. Jim Morris encourages deadbeat candidates to pay up on municipal violations before they can qualify for offices; HB 209 by Rep. Franklin Foil would reduce by one the longest hours open in the nation at polling locations; HB 270 by Jim Morris would make legislators and officials put in writing requests made with agencies for a specific expenditure of public funds; HB 275 by Rep. John Schroder would allow university systems to increase tuition and existing fees without legislative approval (related bill: HB 299); HB 292 by Rep. Steve Pugh would bypass recalcitrant school boards in giving citizens of all districts the chance to vote in term limits on board members; HB 297 by Rep. Alan Seabaugh would reduce the corporate income tax; HB 307 by Rep. Frank Hoffman would prevent smoking near entrances and exits of many buildings (related bill: HB 378); HB 314 by Rep. Johnny Bertholet would get rid of useless boards and commissions; HB 379 by Rep. Joe Harrison would change a loophole allowing detained juveniles to count towards benefits receipt by families in public housing; HB 380 by Rep. Sheldon Mack would prevent drug abusers from drawing certain cash welfare benefits; HB 390 by Rep. Simone Champagne would place term limits on state elected single executive offices; HB 392 by Jim Morris would not force the state to spend money by earning from the Budget Stabilization Fund; HB 395 by Rep. Thomas Carmody would prevent management boards from circumventing spending plans made by the Board of Regents (related bills: HB 396, HB 727); HB 549 by Rep. Brett Geymann would limit state expenditure growth to six percent annually (related bill: HB 550); HB 553 by Geymann would place better priorities on state spending (related bill: HB 554); HB 632 by Rep. Steve Carter would remove existing tenure eligibility for teachers hired after July 1; HB 677 by Rep. Alfred Williams would give local governments greater salary flexibility; HB 707 by Schroder would strengthen educational accountability; HB 711 by Pugh would require candidates for office file all paperwork regarding previous campaigns; HB 850 by Rep. Henry Burns allows for the privatization of existing prisons (related bill: SB 465); HB 851 by Rep. Dee Richard would prohibit nursing home owners or administrators from assisting residents in voting (related bill: SB 137); HB 877 by Richard would eliminate the dated and unnecessary provisions for voting for displaced individuals; HB 927 by Harrison would at least start consolidating higher education governance boards; HB 933 by Carter brings accountability and coordination to preschool (similar bill: SB 581); HB 942 by Rep. Tim Burns would create improved appellate provisions and enforcement for ethics laws (related bills: HB 950: SB 392; SB 414; SB 432); HB 974 by Carter would create a more coherent and efficient personnel system in public schools; HB 976 by Carter would allow private school tuition to be paid up to a certain level by the state for students suffering in fair-to-substandard public schools (similar bill: SB 597); SB 85 by Sen. Danny Martiny would limit uses and uses of funds from traffic cameras (related bills; HB 773; HB 871; HB 873; HB 968; SB 102; SB 174; SB 424); SB 125 by Sen. Barrow Peacock would gradually reduce income tax rates (related bill: SB 302); SB 129 by Sen. Dan Claitor would require legislators to report information about scholarships empowered to be awarded by them; SB 217 by Sen. A.G. Crowe would clarify nondiscrimination statutes; SB 227 by Sen. Fred Mills would create a more efficient money-follows-the-person system for indigent/disabled health care; SB 269 by Peacock would limit the ability of local jurisdictions to raise funds by passing through taxes as franchise taxes (related bill: SB 273); SB 565 by Sen. Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb would make artistic sales of prisoners awaiting execution of a capital sentence go to victim reparations; SB 590 by Pres. John Alario would increase fiscal flexibility by striking a number of unnecessary separate dedicated funds from law; SB 593 by Alario would extend protection of life; SB 603 by Sen. Conrad Appel would restrict counterproductive personnel actions by school board.
THE BAD: HB 68 by Seabaugh would expand needlessly the number of deputies for the low-demand job of constables in Caddo Parish; HB 100 by Rep. John Bel Edwards would encourage legislative micromanaging of establishing teacher evaluation standards; HB 127 by Rep. Herbert Dixon would throw the baby out with the bathwater in allowing personnel actions against employees by employers unrelated to the business merely because the employee smokes; HB 130 by Rep. Pat Smith needlessly restricts qualifications to serve on the Board of Pardons with its different function than the Board of Parole; HB 165 by Dixon would reduce the ability of the executive branch to coordinate in the area of education policy; HB 187 by Rep. Truck Gisclair would expand the definition of lobbying and government regulation thereof to have it apply to people trying to persuade the public; HB 196 by Rep. Bryan Adams that would raise the nation’s highest homestead exemption even further; HB 212 by Richard that would restrict too much post-legislative employment in the executive branch (related bills: HB 244; SB 132); HB 327 by Richard would reduce indiscriminately the amount of state contracts let; HB 328 by Richard would reduce indiscriminately the number of state employees; HB 337 by Richard would obscure the politics involved in redistricting at the state level; HB 351 by Rep. Roy Burrell would place needless restrictions on private schools; HB 358 by Rep. Karen St. Germain would encourage indiscriminate government spending by indexing certain taxes; HB 483 by Rep. Jeff Arnold would give a needless salary increase to judges; HB 525 by Rep. Regina Barrow would force secondary educational institutions to provide students as free servitude; HB 546 by Geymann would inhibit reform of dedicated expenditures and needlessly complicate the budget process (related bills: HB 547, HB 548, HB 551, HB 552); HB 573 by Rep. Barbara Norton would introduce the discredited concept of comparable worth into employment law (related bills: SB 189; SB 568; SB 577); HB 603 by Dixon would increase the chances of electoral fraud; HB 691 by Rep. Helena Moreno would needlessly duplicate existing state employee law (related bill: SB 100); HB 717 by Rep. Jeff Thompson would dedicate money to a bowl game; HB 780 by Harrison would anti-competitively require signal carriers to carry all local television stations; HB 811 by Norton would degrade the idea of citizen, part-time elected officials by mandating employers give them leave for meetings; HB 820 by Smith would mandate sex education in the schools over objections of local districts; HB 834 by Norton would degrade school accountability efforts by dropping testing requirements (related bill: HB 901); HB 848 by Rep. Marcus Hunter would allow those whose families don’t pay taxes to support higher education to get similar tuition rates as those who do; HB 943 by Rep. Ray Garafalo would make an exception to the journal of record requirement when it should be abolished; HB 953 by state Rep. Walter Leger would stop the cost-effective merger of the civil and criminal courts in Orleans Parish; HB 962 by Rep. Robert Johnson would prohibit cost-savings measures relative to prisons without legislative approval; HB 963 by Johnson would prohibit cost-savings measures relative to provision of health benefits to state employees without legislative approval; HB 964 by Rep. Jim Fannin would make the overbuilt and maldistributed system of higher education worse by merging Louisiana State University Shreveport into Louisiana Tech (related bill: SB 527); SB 23 by Sen. Elbert Guillory would increase the unfunded accrued liability by handing out pension increases too generously (related bill: SB 25); SB 41 by Guillory would increase the unfunded accrued liability by creating a minimum payment in addition to existing pension payments; SB 106 by Sen. Rick Gallot would give free space to legislators at state maintenance costs; SB 131 by Sen. Eric LaFleur would delay needlessly strengthened evaluation measures of teachers; SB 285 by Sen. Robert Adley creates yet another special fund for a special local interest; SB 328 by Sen. Sharon Broome would allow for a waste of legislative resources in having an estimate about poverty reputedly related to a bill; SB 374 by Sen. Karen Peterson would eliminate a requirement to encourage comprehensive and accurate science teaching; SB 411 by Sen. Jack Donahue would tempt lax fiscal policy by making it easier not to refill the Budget Stabilization Fund (related bill: SB 415); SB 445 by Peterson would eliminate cost-effective means for delivery of education by charter schools; SB 537 by Peterson would restrict unduly use of savings in health care delivery; SB 552 by Peterson would create unnecessary reporting requirements; SB 584 by Peterson rather than supplementing would replace the current clear and concise school accountability reporting system with a more complicated and less clear regime; SB 609 by Sen. Edwin Murray would halt the consolidation of the criminal and civil courts in Orleans Parish.
THE UGLY: HB 23 by Seabaugh would have the state buy a car for the Caddo Parish Juvenile Court; why can’t the court come up with the estimated $7,600, and why do state taxpayers have to foot the bill; HB 256 by Rep. Andy Anders increases to as much as $200 a day payment to members of a hospital board in a rural parish; why potentially pay so lavishly for a part-time job; HB 428 by Rep. Ledricka Thierry would permit a survey of minority-owned businesses by the Department of Insurance; why is this trivia intended to clutter state law; HB 597 by Rep. Gregory Miller would give a driving allowance to a clerk of court; why is this necessary; SB 39 by Alario would allow a new levee district to join a state retirement program; the state has been paring these back and this would just encourage crating more of them;SB 247 by Sen. Gerald Long would create yet another technical/community college; SB 324 by Sen. Jonathan Perry would give a driving allowance to a clerk of court; why is this necessary; SB 405 by Sherri Buffington would codify a specific new local fire department official into state law; why is this necessary.