26 February 2005

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Prefiled bills -- Week of Feb. 25, 2005

THE GOOD: At first glance, HB 24 would not look to be good at all. Rep. Gary Beard's bill makes it necessary for home-schooled students to score two points better on the 1990 ACT (or an equivalent on the SAT or later ACT version) than students schooled in a public or nonpublic high school. What is the justification to discriminate against potential recipients just because they were home schooled? Isn't the goal to create a more learned population regardless of where they had the primary and secondary schooling?
But then consider the little-known fact that according to present law, the margin is three points. Obviously the bill doesn't go far enough, but one-third the way is better than no progress at all.

THE BAD: HB 21 wants to add the members of the Allen Parish Tourist Commission to the ranks of paid public officials in the state. As much as $600 a year each member could get, and with seven members, that's either $4,200 less a year that can be spent on tourism and/or $4,200 more whatever its funding sources are (typically hotel occupancy taxes) would have to cough up. Rep. Herman Ray Hill's bill would thus make this the only such paid body by legislative statute in the state, even as other bodies do much more work (Allen Parish's population is a whopping 24,000). Why should this group be treated as an exception? Surely a number of qualified people in the parish would want to serve voluntarily, so why force others (probably mostly visitors staying in motels to lose money at the Grand Casino Coushatta) to pay to create an unnecessary perk?

THE UGLY: Rep. John R. Smith's HB 18 is another of those that carves out some type of exception for a particular jurisdiction, here the 36th Judicial District (Beauregard) for deciding fees that can be charged by court reporters. Seems he wants to allow higher fees decide upon by the court's judges. One glance at R.S. 13:961 may make you say "so what" because at least 14 exceptions are already in there, but why is it then that one law can't cover all 40 districts? To make matters worse, rasther than propose such a bill, this one would create the highest reimbursement rate in the state.

SCORECARD: 24 House prefiles, 5 Senate prefiles.

No comments: