31 May 2014

Legislative regular session through May 31, 2014



THIS WEEK FOR THE GOOD: HB 265 passed the Senate and was sent to the governor; HB 305 passed the Senate and was sent to the governor; HB 328 with minor amendment passed Senate committee and the Senate; HB 663 with minor amendment passed Senate committee and the Senate; HB 876 was sent to the governor; HB 1013 with minor amendment passed the Senate; HB 1076 with minor amendment passed Senate committee and the Senate; HB 1079 with minor amendment passed Senate committee and the Senate; HB 1176 passed the Senate and was rejected by the House; HB 1199 passed Senate committee and the Senate; HB 1262 passed the Senate and was concurred in; SB 62 with minor amendment passed the House; SB 177 was sent to the governor; SB 312 passed the House; SB 337 was sent to the governor; SB 361 was sent to the governor; SB 394 with minor amendment passed the House and was concurred in; SB 432 passed the House and was concurred in; SB 445 with minor amendment passed the House and was concurred in; SB 468 passed the House and was concurred in; SB 469 passed the House and was concurred in; SB 682 passed House committee and the House.

THIS WEEK FOR THE BAD: HB 96 passed the Senate; HB 111 was passed by the Senate and concurred in; HB 142 with major amendment passed the Senate; HB 249 passed Senate committee and the Senate; HB 1097 was sent to the governor; SB 126 with major amendment passed the House and was concurred in; SB 322 passed the House; SB 554 with minor amendment passed the House and was concurred in; SB 624 was sent to the governor.

SCORECARD:

28 May 2014

Committee action, May 28: HB 1079, HB 695, HB 858, HB 956


DID YOU KNOW?
HB 1079 by Rep. Tim Burns would require more detailed reporting of campaign expenditures. He had an amendment offered by the Committee on Senate and Governmental Affairs that simplified the language to say a brief description of the expense was required. Example entries were prepared by the Board of Ethics that could be distributed to candidates and posted in the website. The amendment was offered and adopted.

Witnesses urged that the legislature’s own rules supplement the bill with more detail, who described it as a “tiny step forward.” The bill was reported favorably without objection.

DID YOU KNOW?
HB 695 by Burns would allow the Board of Ethics to make informal inquiries into minor questions about a disclosure form, which its staff does not have the authority to be able to do currently, meaning that formal inquiries have to be launched over information that otherwise could be gathered much more easily. The panel discussed who the appropriate individuals connected to a campaign should be in order to receive such inquiries and answer them, and concluded because of the variety it should not be put into law. They agreed that either the filer or a person designated by him would be the relevant contact. Clarified with an amendment, they reported the bill favorably without objection.

24 May 2014

Legislative regular session through May 24, 2014



THIS WEEK FOR THE GOOD: HB 265 passed Senate committee; HB 305 passed Senate committee; HB 328 passed the House; HB 388 was concurred in, HB 663 with major amendment passed Senate committee; HB 874 was sent to the governor; HB 876 passed Senate committee and the Senate; HB 896 was signed by the governor; HB 1075 was signed by the governor; HB 1176 with minor amendment passed Senate committee; HB 1225 was passed by the Senate and sent to the governor; HB 1262 with minor amendment passed Senate committee; SB 62 passed House committee; SB 177 passed the House; SB 312 passed House committee; SB 337 passed the House; SB 361 passed the House; SB 468 passed House committee; SB 469 with minor amendment passed House committee; SB 536 was substituted for by SB 685; SB 652 was withdrawn from the Senate; SB 682 passed the Senate; SB 685 with minor amendment passed the Senate.

THIS WEEK FOR THE BAD: HB 96 passed Senate committee; HB 111 passed Senate committee; HB 128 passed the House;  HB 142 with major amendment passed Senate committee; HB 187 was sent to the governor; HB 237 was sent to the governor; HB 322 was sent to the governor; HB 501 was sent to the governor; HB 1097 passed Senate committee and the Senate; SB 60 passed the House; SB 322 passed House committee; SB 624 passed the House and was concurred in.

SCORECARD:

21 May 2014

Committee action, May 21: HB 305, SB 62, HB 1079, HB 1176, HB 1274



DID YOU KNOW?
HB 305 by Rep. Frank Hoffman would have abortion providers prohibited from distributing materials or speak about abortion in public schools. He told the House Health and Welfare Committee that this protected life and the self-esteem of girls. He said this help prevent the selling of abortion. Witnesses gave examples of how Planned Parenthood in particular has distributed material supporting abortion in schools.

Opponents testified that it was unnecessary but would reduce the amount of sex education available where needed, deny free speech they claimed would be unconstitutional and litigated, claimed it would overbroad in preventing other kinds of information including that which would be helpful in reducing pregnancy and disease, and alleged it would cost money to defend.

Hoffman closed by saying sex education is not restricted by the bill, and another supporting witness said that the opponents’ unconstitutionality arguments are meritless because schools are not public forums. Without opposition, it was moved favorably.

17 May 2014

Legislative regular session through May 17, 2014


THIS WEEK FOR THE GOOD: HB 328 with minor amendment passed House committee; HB 373 failed to pass the House; HB 388 with minor amendment passed the Senate; HB 663 with minor amendment passed the House; HB 874 was concurred in; HB 1075 was concurred in; HB 1225 passed Senate committee; SB 394 passed House committee; SB 432 with minor amendment passed House committee; SB 468 with minor amendment passed Senate committee and with minor amendment passed the Senate.

THIS WEEK FOR THE BAD: HB 128 passed House committee; HB 187 with minor amendment passed the Senate and was concurred in; HB 237 passed the Senate; HB 249 passed the House; HB 283 was deferred involuntarily; HB 322 passed Senate committee; HB 1097 with major amendment passed the House; SB 126 passed House committee; SB 674 with minor amendment passed House committee.

SCORECARD:

13 May 2014

Committee action, May 13: HB 341, HB 342, HB 128

DID YOU KNOW?
HB 341 and HB 342 by Rep. Joe Harrison would rejigger the organization of the executive branch to allow for a Department of Elderly Affairs. He told the House and Governmental Affairs Committee that other bills to combine two departments to allow this one (there is a cap of 20 on these in the Constitution, which these would expand) were hung up, but that he needed to move on these if they were to make it to the voters by the fall. He said it was not an expansion of government, just a reorganization.

Rep. Taylor Barras asked about the new cabinet position and that it would cost $160,000 in salary. Harrison said the present job that would be elevated from the governor’s office to fill this was vacant. Barras asked also whether other allied jobs also would not cost more, but Harrison insisted they were still there in the Division of Administration and could be moved back.

Rep. Mike Danahay asked, what was the need? Harrison claimed most states had their own cabinet department to serve a growing need and could better lobby with the federal government for funds. Danahay said he wasn’t convinced there was an advantage of this, and asked why not put elderly affairs (now in the Division of Administration) under the Department of Health and Hospitals. Harrison replied that he would not want to put anything under DHH because, he alleged, of “ten bad audits.” Danahay then asked why Harrison’s other bills wanted to put the Department of Children and Family Services under DHH. He also wondered by he was trying to combine two larger departments to create a smaller one, and said to him this was an expansion of government.

10 May 2014

Legislative regular sesison through May 10, 2014



There was a magnificent metamorphosis this week when SB 107 essentially was gutted and replaced with an entirely better framework for providing health care for the indigent. Thus, this bill not only shed its bad label, it acquired a good one.

THIS WEEK FOR THE GOOD: HB 373 passed House committee; HB 388 with minor amendment passed Senate committee; HB 452 was deferred involuntarily; HB 663 with minor amendment passed House committee; HB 874 with minor amendment passed the Senate; HB 896 was sent to the governor; HB 923 was deferred involuntarily; HB 1153 was deferred involuntarily; HB 1225 with major amendment passed the House; SB 4 was deferred involuntarily; SB 177 passed House committee; SB 337 passed House committee; SB 340 passed Senate committee; SB 343 passed Senate committee;  SB 445 with minor amendment passed House committee; SB 520 with minor amendment passed Senate committee; SB 652 with minor amendment passed Senate committee; SB 682 passed Senate committee.

THIS WEEK FOR THE BAD: HB 222 with major amendment passed the House; HB 237 passed Senate committee;  HB 246 passed the Senate;  HB 249 with minor amendment passed House committee; HB 501 passed the Senate and was sent to the governor; HB 956 with minor amendment passed the House;  HB 1097 passed House committee; HB 1172 was deferred involuntarily; SB 60 passed House committee; SB 107 was substituted; SB 554 with minor amendment passed House committee.

07 May 2014

Committee action, May 7: HB 185, HB 1097


DID YOU KNOW?
HB 185 by Rep. Kenny Havard would allow direct service workers to administer certain medications to self-directed users of Medicaid waiver services, after amendment that required standards for training to be set by the state. The Senate Health and Welfare Committee was told this would allow for those individuals not to have to hire expensive nursing on an as-needed and periodic basis to give simple administrations of medicine. Without objection it passed.

DID YOU KNOW?
HB 1097 by Rep. Barbara Norton would allow Shreveport to increase its allowable tax rate permanently. City employee spokesmen argued to the House Municipal, Parochial, and Cultural Affairs Committee that the money was needed, saying is created too much uncertainty for the public safety departments to which it was dedicated in that it had to be renewed on occasion. Next renewal would become its last if the bill passed. Without objection it passed.

03 May 2014

Legislative regular session through May 3, 2014



Due to amending over the past couple of weeks, this relaxed the rigidity of HB 490 as far as legislative discretion, and therefore the bill is elevated from its bad status. And SB 520 gets promoted into the list of the good as a result of its (slightly) strengthening TOPS standards.

THIS WEEK FOR THE GOOD: HB 265 passed the House; HB 313 was deferred involuntarily; HB 725 was withdrawn; HB 806 was withdrawn; HB 876 passed the House; HB 896 passed the House; HB 1075 passed the Senate; HB 1102 was deferred involuntarily; HB 1176 with minor amendment passed the House; HB 1199 passed the House; HB 1225 with major amendment passed House committee; SB 340 passed Senate committee; SB 361 passed House committee; SB 445 passed the Senate; SB 469 with major amendment passed Senate committee; SB 520 with major amendment passed Senate committee.

THIS WEEK FOR THE BAD: HB 96 with minor amendment passed the House; HB 125 failed to pass the House; HB 127 failed to pass the House; HB 187 with minor amendment passed Senate committee; HB 322 passed the House; HB 703 passed the House; HB 871 was deferred involuntarily; HB 956 with minor amendment passed House committee; HB 1084 was deferred involuntarily; HB 1168 was deferred involuntarily; HB 1212 passed House committee; HB 1221 was deferred involuntarily; SB 322 with minor amendment passed the Senate; SB 443 with minor amendment passed the Senate; SB 624 passed House committee.